Martin Brundle insists George Russell crash had ‘red flag written all over it’

George Russell’s violent crash at the end of the Australian Grand Prix should have resulted in a red flag to stop the race, says Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle.

Russell, following closely behind Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin car in front, lost control of his Mercedes on the penultimate lap of Sunday’s race at turn six.

His W15 car smashed into the barrier before flipping onto its side and back on the middle of the track, prompting an unsighted Russell to plead with race control to red flag the race, with cars approaching at speed behind him.

Yet race control opted for a “virtual safety car”, instructing drivers to reduce their speed by 40%, with turn six negotiated under double-waved yellow flags which warn drivers to reduce their speeds and be ready to stop.

However, Brundle, who was on commentary duties for Sky Sports in Melbourne, was surprised that the FIA did not echo Russell’s immediate request for a red flag.

“The end result looked a bigger accident than it was in some respects, as the car resting on its side now blocked the gravel-strewn track,” Brundle said in his Sky Sports column.

“The leaders were on the last lap and race control covered the incident with a ‘virtual safety car’ meaning all drivers had to slow down to a target time on their dashboard.

“Furthermore, the zone was covered by double-waved yellow flags which means slow down and be prepared to stop.

Martin Brundle says George Russell’s crash should have resulted in a red flag (Getty Images)
Martin Brundle says George Russell’s crash should have resulted in a red flag (Getty Images)

“But being just around a blind corner and now with personnel and the Medical Car on site, that situation had ‘red flag’ written all over it.

“Thankfully cars bumped alongside and past, and the chequered flag was shown at the end of the lap.”

Fernando Alonso received a 20-second penalty for “brake testing” Russell in a “potentially dangerous” manner, demoting him from sixth to eighth.

The crash meant Mercedes endured a double DNF, following Lewis Hamilton’s retirement earlier in the race.