Sergio Perez’s race at the Austrian Grand Prix was effectively over halfway around the first lap after he was tagged by Mercedes of Geroge Russell and sent spinning into the gravel trap.
Perez limped on at the back of the field with a damaged Red Bull before retiring late in the race. It completed a poor weekend for the Mexican driver, who was relegated to 13th on the grid for the sprint race after seeing his fastest times from Q2 and Q3 deleted for track limit violations.
Russell was deemed at fault for the incident at turn four and was hit with a five-second time penalty, which Mercedes insisted was harsh. Russell did at least come home fourth, a place behind Lewis Hamilton.
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While Russell, who was defending on the inside of the corner, has been labelled the guilty party of the incident, it has emerged Perez had been advised not to attempt such a manoeuvre around the outside of a corner which has seen numerous collisions over the years, with the driver on the outside usually coming off worse.
At least that’s according to Red Bull driver advisor Helmut Marko, who branded Perez’s move “unnecessary”.
“We said before the start, do not go around the outside in that corner. That is not possible,” Marko reportedly told Sky Sports Germany. “This was just unnecessary. We've seen that before. It doesn't work. After that, the car was damaged and it made no sense to continue driving. There was a lot of damage to the floor. He might have finished two laps behind, so it didn't make sense [to continue]. It was better to save the mileage.”
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However, Perez insisted the move was on and that he gave Russell ample room on the inside.
“There was nothing, to be honest, I could have done differently – other than going straight into the gravel to make sure he has a free road!” said Perez.
“I gave him enough room, he had enough room to do that move and it was up to him really to control the car and I was just clearly ahead. I don’t know what else to say, I was clearly ahead, and I had the position, and it was down to him to really avoid the contact.
“I gave all the room I could to George on Lap 1, there was enough room for both cars not to crash and unfortunately, we ended up colliding. I don’t know what else I could have done.”
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