George Russell receives flak for the incident with Pierre Gasly

George Russell Mercedes

Fans criticized George Russell on social media following his incident with Pierre Gasly during the Japanese Grand Prix practice.

The wet FP1 and FP2 sessions meant the drivers had no dry running prior to FP3.

Mercedes completed 55 laps throughout the two sessions which required the use of intermediate or extreme wet tyres.

Russell went fastest in FP2 ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton as an additional 30 minutes were added for the Pirelli tyre test which was supposed to happen in that session.

However, due to the rain, the test was canceled but extra time was kept, allowing the drivers more practice time for a wet race on Sunday.

With no rain expected for qualifying, it was essential for the drivers to get some dry laps in FP3, ahead of the qualifying.

The drivers scrambled for a clear track space in order set clean laps, and Russell stumbled over Gasly at Turn 10.

The 24-year-old said on the radio that he came close to hitting the Frenchman but he got some critical comments online for this.

Russell eventually qualified eighth with Hamilton lined up in sixth as the Mercedes dueled with the Alpines.

Both Hamilton and Russell moved up a place at the start after Carlos Sainz crashed on the opening lap in slippery conditions. After the red flag period, the seven-time champion attempted to pass Esteban Ocon for sixth but failed.

Russell was overtaken by Sebastian Vettel after the German made an early but correct call to put on Intermediates. The Briton was then passed by Fernando Alonso during the dying stages of the race after the Spaniard made an extra pitstop.

Russell eventually came home in eight as he rued a strategy call by Mercedes to double stack him with his teammate which led him to lose places.

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