F1 star's costly sacrifice to come to rival's aid

Mercedes young gun George Russell effectively decided to end his own race to help stricken rival Zhou Guanyu after his massive crash at the start of the British Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Contact between Russell's Mercedes and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly sent Russell into the right-rear of Zhou's Alfa Romeo, triggering a series of rolls that ultimately saw him wedged between the wall and catch fence.

Instead of driving back to the pits, Russell elected to turn off his car and run over to help his rival.

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F1 cars are unable to start under their own power, and so Russell's car had to be returned to the pits on a tow truck.

Under the regulations, receiving outside help to get a car started immediately ends a driver's race, although Russell told Sky Sports he was unaware of the regulation.

George Russell calls for help after the crash. Photo: Peter J Fox (Getty)

"When I came back (from helping Zhou) the car was already on the flatbed and they said we couldn't restart. So it's annoying because the only issue we had was a puncture," he said.

"The car was generally fine. There was a little bit of damage, but nothing show-stopping."

Russell's Mercedes team attempted to argue with the FIA to let him restart the race, to no avail.

Zhou Guanyu's car ended up caught between a railing and a fence before being lifted out. (Getty)

"So apparently, as soon as you get assistance, you can't restart. So it's very frustrating because the car just had the puncture. And there's no doubt we had the pace to come back to P6 today."

As president of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA), Russell also urged the FIA to have a rethink of the way barriers and catch fences are designed, after it took crews more than 10 minutes to get the Chinese driver out of the car.

Russell's car suffered only a left-rear puncture in the crash. Photo: Peter J Fox (Getty)

"We need to have a think to avoid the car being stuck in such a fine gap, in the space between the tyre barriers and the metal fence. He was just stuck in there with nowhere to go," he said.

"It was an incredibly scary incident, not just for him but I'm sure for everyone in the crowd as well. It was not nice to see."

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