Coulthard: Russell not the 'complete finished article' yet

David Coulthard believes that George Russell has still got “a chink in his armour”, an imperfection that has led to a few “drop the ball moments”, but the Scot insists the Mercedes driver is getting there.

So far this season, Russell has performed on a par with his teammate Lewis Hamilton although the latter precedes the former in the Drivers’ standings by 22 points, a deficit due in part to Russell’s costly engine failure and DNF in Australia.

But in Spain last weekend, the pair clashed at high speed in qualifying when Russell – oblivious to Hamilton’s presence – moved over on the seven-time world champion and rubbed tyres with his teammate.

Russell also suffered a premature exit in the grid-defining session, failing to make the top-ten shootout as he battled a car lacking grip.

Coulthard suggests that Russell is still not the refined driver that he aims to become, but he’s getting close.

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“George has still got a little chink in his armour,” the former F1 driver told Channel 4.

“That late movement in qualifying where they had contact, if you remember he’s had some little drop the ball moments.

“He’s not the complete finished article yet. He’s pretty close. But Lewis Hamilton when he’s back, he’s back.”

Hamilton didn’t hold Russell’s move against him, while Mercedes admitted that the run-in had been the result of a miscommunication, with the team’s pitwall failing to warn Russell of his teammate’s presence.

On Sunday, Russell stormed from P12 on the grid to finish on the podium just behind Hamilton while the unassailable Max Verstappen claimed his 40th career win in F1.

“George did a fantastic job coming from 12th all the way to third, great points for the team,” Hamilton commented.

“Mega points for the team, we’ve got into second in the Constructors’ Championship so I think we have the strongest team, particularly George and I are punching out great results weekend-in, weekend-out so now we just need to pick up the performance a little bit more, which I know everyone’s working hard to do and, hopefully, we can, at some stage, catch the Red Bulls.”

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