George Russell says the extreme braking forces aboard his Mercedes Formula 1 car flicked sweat onto his visor to make him think it was raining in the Spanish Grand Prix.

The upgraded W14 proved effective in the warmer race temperatures to enable Russell to jump from 12th on the grid to third place to complete a double podium behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Rain, which had hit the track during Saturday practice, had threatened to disrupt the event but never materialised. However, Russell did briefly ask his race engineer Marcus Dudley at half-distance if any other driver had reported rain when he spotted drops on his helmet visor.

But it soon transpired that these were his own sweat, with Russell having not properly tucked his hair inside his balaclava. So, when he was braking, the beads were flicking forwards under the forces.

He explained the confusion, saying: "I had my hair dangling down in the first stint - I think I didn't quite get it in my balaclava. That was annoying because it was in my peripheral vision.

"Then, as I was sweating, because it wasn't in my balaclava, it was dripping down onto my face. And then when I was braking, it was coming onto my visor.

"So, with the grey clouds, and then the spots of water on the visor, I thought it was rain. That was a bit of an embarrassing one."

George Russell at Spanish GP 2023

Speaking to Sky Sports, Russell added: "It was really annoying because I was sweating throughout the whole race and it obviously was getting on the inside of the visor so I couldn't wipe it. But I had it all under control."

Russell's radio messages again drew attention after he dived down the inside of Carlos Sainz's Ferrari into Turn 1 on lap 35 of 66 for third place. 

Dudley responded with "Solid work" to which Russell asked: "Just solid?". Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff replied: "It was very good".

Explaining the back and forth, Russell said: "It was just a bit of a joke with Marcus… Toto likes the big radio messages of encouragement.

"Marcus and I sometimes say, 'Just be nice and calm in a situation, it is sometimes the best way to get the result'.

"It was a pretty decent move on Carlos. I thought it was a little bit more than 'solid', but it's just a good laugh!"

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