Damon Hill insists George Russell was ‘desperate’ in Oscar Piastri clash

Damon Hill was left unimpressed by a “desperate” attempted overtake by George Russell on Oscar Piastri during the latter stages of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver, battling for seventh place, lunged down the inside of Piastri at the final chicane of the Suzuka circuit.

McLaren young gun Piastri was forced off the track, though kept his position out in front. A few laps later, Russell surged past the Australian anyway down the main straight.

The race stewards, who looked into the incident, deemed no further action to be necessary after the race but 1996 world champion Hill says British driver Russell was a “bit desperate” with the “aggressive” manoeuvre.

“I thought that was a little bit of an aggressive move actually,” Hill told Sky Sports F1.

“Quite a risky one, required Oscar to take evasive action. So a bit desperate from George.”

Russell told Sky post-race: “Yeah I mean it was a late move from my side down the inside, made contact.

“I think there was enough room for us both to stay on the track and he obviously continues on. I think I would have been a little bit more upset had I finished the race behind him.”

Piastri believed the clash was a “racing incident” but was disappointed that he allowed Russell past him later in the race.

“A few tough moments with George, but in the end, I made a mistake and let him past,” Piastri said.

“Disappointing to let that one slip right at the end.”

Max Verstappen triumphed at Suzuka as he led home a one-two finish for Red Bull with team-mate Sergio Perez in second while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz completed the podium.

Russell’s team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, finished ninth.