Collision penalty was "harsh", claims Russell


George Russell believes his 5s time penalty following his clash with Sergio Perez on the opening lap of the Austrian Grand Prix was "harsh".

Getting a good start, Russell was on the inside of Carlos Sainz in Turn 1, the Spaniard running slightly wide in the process.

On the run to Turn 3, Sainz got back ahead of Russell, who now had Sergio Perez alongside. Side-by-side through the corner, the Mercedes and Red Bull continued the run to Turn 4, where Russell had the inside but tagged the Mexican causing him to spin off into the gravel.

Perez made it back to the pits but was subsequently retired due to the damage he had incurred in the clash.

Meanwhile the stewards handed Russell a 5s time penalty for causing a collision, determining that the Mercedes driver was "wholly at fault for the incident".

Perez was passing on the outside, and was at least fully alongside at the entry of the turn and all the way through the manoeuvre, including at the apex of the corner and left sufficient room for Russell, who ultimately struck him.

This was not considered as a "first lap incident" by the stewards as this was a battle between the two cars and was not affected by the pack of cars as can happen during the first lap.

"I've looked at the video and I think it's harsh," said Russell at race end. "You are racing at the start, cars are everywhere. Checo did a bold move going around the outside like that.

"Obviously he'd done it before," the Briton continued, "he did it with Valtteri yesterday and Valtteri had to get right on top of the kerb to avoid him, which is exactly what I tried to do.

"But with Carlos ahead of me there's only so much you can brake and so much you can steer, and ultimately I had nowhere to go. Sorry to him to end his race.

"There was probably more room on the outside for him," he added, "and as I said I was doing everything I could. But as soon as he got to a certain point I knew it was inevitable, because I was already at the limit of my car.

"So, it's risk versus reward and he had this with Lando last year, it was very close with Valtteri yesterday. The move with me today was exactly the same as these other two, so it was one of them."

"I was clearly ahead," insisted the Mexican, "it was up to George to control his car which he clearly couldn't and we ended up making contact.

"There was nothing else I could have done," he continued. "I gave him enough room, I was already very close to the gravel to make sure he had enough room for both of us to make the corner.

"For the standards of George's level, I'm very surprised at that manoeuvre," he admitted, "but anyway, it's very disappointing for me and a very disappointing result for our team because clearly today there were a lot of opportunities."

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Published: 11/07/2022
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