George Russell laments lack of focus that cost him podium spot in Monaco

MONACO - George Russell said friends who texted him congratulations after finishing fifth at the Monaco Grand Prix did not realise he made a mistake which effectively threw away a podium finish.

Russell had done 54 laps on the hard tyre when he stopped for intermediates as the rain intensified - his long stint effectively allowing him to gain a handful of positions over rivals.

But on his out-lap he lost control of his car on the approach to the Mirabeau corner, following Aston Martin's Lance Stroll who had made a similar mistake.

That saw him drop from third to fifth, behind Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

"Really kicking myself because P3 was almost guaranteed after not pitting [until lap 54]," Russell said. "Came out, there was a yellow flag, I backed off and as soon as I touched the brakes I locked up and followed Stroll up the escape road.

"That's probably a lesson when you're not on it and you're not focused you make those mistakes. If there wasn't a yellow flag there I would have been focusing more and wouldn't have gone off. Cost the team a comfortable P3."

Russell said the way the TV broadcast played out meant people were not aware he had been in the running for a podium.

"I actually learned my mistake wasn't shown on television until a replay after the race. I don't think it was actually clear to people that we were effectively P3 on track and lost it. A lot of people texted me saying 'well done on P5', not realising I made a big mistake and cost us P3."

When Russell rejoined the circuit he drove straight into the path of Red Bull's Sergio Perez, earning him a five-second penalty.

In the closing laps Russell asked Mercedes if they would consider letting him past Hamilton to protect from the chasing Charles Leclerc in fifth, something the team did not do.

"I was being held up by Ocon and Lewis and Charles was closing me down, definitely wasn't going to risk anything on Lewis in conditions on a circuit like this," said Russell. "But with that five-second penalty it would have been a good buffer if Charles had caught us up. But not needed in the end. I said to the team, no obligation, no pressure from my side. But something to consider."