F1 Azerbaijan GP: ‘An agenda against Lewis,’ Sky F1 pundit blasted for claiming Lewis Hamilton ‘helped’ Oscar Piastri knock out George Russell from Q2

Sky Sports F1 pundit, Karun Chandhok, was attacked for claiming that Lewis Hamilton's slipstream to Oscar Piastri led to George Russell's Q2 elimination.


F1 Azerbaijan GP: ‘An agenda against Lewis,’ Sky F1 pundit blasted for claiming Lewis Hamilton ‘helped’ Oscar Piastri knock out George Russell from Q2

George Russell (L) Lewis Hamilton (R)

Lewis Hamilton will start the feature race on Sunday in P5. That is a relatively good position, especially considering what could have happened to him. He got by into Q3 by the skin of his teeth – 0.004 seconds. And the person he eliminated was his own teammate, George Russell. Mercedes have not introduced the ‘big’ upgrades in Baku, but they would surely have expected better on Russell’s front. Q2 was a struggle for both drivers.

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Apart from the obvious, that he finished right ahead of Russell, the seven-time world champion may have played another role in his teammate’s elimination. In the final minutes of the session, Hamilton, who slowed down after turn 16, gave a light slipstream to Oscar Piastri. The Australian had been on a flying lap and came up behind the Briton near turn 19. For a few seconds, Piastri received a small slipstream from Hamilton, before the latter dove into the pits.

It was Piastri, who after going 0.018s faster than Russell, pushed him out of Q2. And perhaps without the slipstream, the Mercedes man would have made Q3. This was the opinion of the Sky Sports pundit, Karun Chandhok. He apparently said Mercedes should investigate why Hamilton (inadvertently) gave Piastri the slipstream, which, as described above, may have been the main culprit in Russell being knocked out. Fans were not happy.

Read More: F1 Azerbaijan GP: “This is beyond pathetic now”- Fans react as Lewis Hamilton squeezes Mercedes teammate George Russell out of Q2

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Lewis Hamilton had squeezed into Q3 by 0.004 over George Russell

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton

For this, Karun Chandhok attracted outrage from Mercedes fans, and in abundance, at that. Many of them said rather distasteful things, but mainly, most were angry at Hamilton being ‘blamed’ for the exit. In addition, they also blamed other Sky Sports pundits for ‘creating a narrative’ and accused Chandhok of being biased. In this regard, one fan cited an exchange between Simon Lazenby and Naomi Schiff.

There were more ‘colorful’ comments as well, but this was the gist of it. In a post-race interview with Sky Sports, George Russell blamed himself for the elimination, as he made a mistake on his final run. He said: “Well, I mean we’re not fast enough this weekend. Obviously, I would have loved to have been in Q3, but I was giving everything. I made a mistake in my last one [lap] which could have just crept me into Q3, but I don’t think I would have been able to qualify much higher than P8.”

Chandhok has his own opinion, but Russell himself did not blame Hamilton. At least not publically. The young Briton has now been put on the backfoot for Sunday’s Grand Prix, and the weekend in general. It’ll be interesting to see how he can do in Saturday’s ‘Sprint Shootout’. Even in the feature race, there’s a possibility he can get a much better result than his qualifying performance.

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