Motor racing-Russell gets in a sweat about rain in Spain

Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - June 3, 2023 Mercedes' George Russell during practice REUTERS/Albert Gea

(Reuters) - The rain in Spain fell mostly inside George Russell's helmet on Sunday as the Mercedes Formula One driver mistook beads of his own sweat for precipitation during an otherwise dry race in Barcelona.

The Briton, who finished third after starting 12th, told his team over the radio early in the race that it was raining at turn five.

"Is anyone else reporting rain?" he asked, before adding "I think it's sweat from the inside of my helmet.

"It sounds like it's just you that's reporting the rain," came the reply from his race engineer. "I suspect it might be the sweat."

Russell, who joked about his mistake with Red Bull's race winner Max Verstappen in the cool-down room, explained the confusion.

"At the start of the race I knew my hair wasn't in my balaclava, so my hair was dangling out which was firstly quite annoying," he told Sky Sports.

"The next thing I started to brake and I saw the raindrops on my visor but I soon learned it was the bead of sweat dropping down on my head through my hair and when I braked it was flicking onto the visor.

"I got a little bit excited at one point but you're not always right I guess."

Russell said he had been sweating throughout the race and the moisture was getting on the inside of the visor where he could not wipe it.

That proved to be the only real frustration of a race that saw Mercedes, with seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton finishing second, secure their first double podium of the season and Russell's best result of the campaign to date.

Mercedes also leapfrogged Aston Martin into second place in the constructors' championship.

"The rain has officially cleared and the sun is out," joked Russell as he walked, without a helmet, through the paddock afterwards.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)

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