Russell to start Singapore Grand Prix from pit lane

SINGAPORE — George Russell will start the Singapore Grand Prix from the pit lane after Mercedes fitted a new power unit to his car and incurred a penalty.

Russell qualified 11th for Sunday’s race after struggling with a suspected engine issue that affected his car under braking.

Mercedes took the opportunity to replace the power unit in his car but did not inform the FIA technical delegate, which resulted in a pit lane start penalty rather than the usual back-of-grid penalty.

“I was struggling with something regarding the brakes and the engine from first practice where it was pushing me into the corners,” Russell told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying. “And it kind of felt like I had throttle on as I was going in.

“I didn’t have throttle and it isn’t that but that was [the] feeling, sort of pushing me everywhere. So as the car’s braking, I just get to the corner and it was like something had pushed me from behind and [I] just couldn’t get round there.

“The grip felt good, I just couldn’t get around any corners. I just got there and just kept understeering off.”

Singapore is among the hardest tracks to overtake on the calendar, although the Mercedes car showed impressive pace in the hands of Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton, who qualified 0.056s off Charles Leclerc on pole.

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