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Stroll lost the advantage at the start to Cassidy, but Cassidy locked
up at Turn 1, allowing his team-mate back onto his tail.
Cassidy then claimed: “At the last corner I grabbed first gear by accident.
"In the first five laps I was not so confident with the track damp - I just didn’t do a clean enough job.”
Russell, who finished third with new team Hitech Grand Prix, countered:
“I feel sorry for Nick - to have to give his position up to Lance on
the first lap of the first race is bad for the championship.
"He was on the back of Lance throughout the race, and it’s a bit of a shame if the championship is going to pan out this way.
"Hitech don’t have a way of protecting me like Prema do with Lance.
a shame that you can’t get anywhere in this sport without paying for
it, while normal guys like myself and Ben Barnicoat [Russell’s Hitech
team-mate] are trying to compete for the championship.
"Nick can talk about all his mistakes, but it’s complete and utter rubbish.”
Russell did pay tribute to the Prema team, saying that the Italian squad’s set-up was superior and that he could not keep pace.
“I’m not taking anything away from Prema - they had a speed advantage over us,” he said.
“But we want a fair fight and it’s not a fair fight at the moment.”