“He couldn’t control it” – Red Bull’s Sergio Perez criticises Mercedes’ George Russell over first-lap
“He couldn’t control it, clearly,” said Sergio Perez after being forced to retire from the race as Christian Horner rued another tussle with a Mercedes in Austria; F1 returns in two weeks in France with all sessions live on Sky Sports F1 from Friday July 22
See how Sergio Perez was forced off the track after making contact with the Mercedes of George Russell on the opening lap
Sergio Perez blamed George Russell for the first-corner collision that ruined his race in Austria, accusing the Mercedes driver of being unable to control his car.
Perez started the Grand Prix in fifth, but was sent spinning onto the gravel on the opening lap after making contact with Russell and was ultimately forced to retire due to the damage sustained.
The Englishman was handed a five-second penalty for the incident before battling through the field to finish fourth, but was criticised by Perez who felt he had done enough to get ahead of the Mercedes.
Perez expressed his devastation after he was pushed off the track
“It is a big shame for us,” Perez told Sky Sports F1. “I clearly felt, from our side, that we did everything we possibly could to avoid the incident.
“It was only lap one and it was up to George to control his car. He couldn’t control it, clearly.
“We ended up making contact when I was clearly ahead.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner also backed his driver, drawing parallels with a similar incident in 2020 when Lewis Hamilton tangled with Perez’s predecessor Alex Albon at the same corner.
“It was really disappointing for Checo today,” he said.
“I don’t think Mercedes like our cars going around the outside at Turn Four. It was a shame because Checo was ahead. It’s almost a mirror image with Alex a couple of years ago.
“It is a tricky corner there and we’ve seen so many incidents on the outside. It is just a shame he wasn’t given more space.
“It’s one of those things. We will bounce back in France.”
Russell: Perez had more grip
Russell was frustrated after the first-lap collision resulted in a five-second time penalty and damage to his car
Russell, who started fourth, dropped to 17th after serving a five-second penalty in the pits and later admitted he suffered damage that cost him pace in the early part of the race.
He described the incident as “frustrating” but insisted he didn’t have enough grip to avoid contact.
“It’s very frustrating to have the first-lap incident,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“I braked late and braked hard and Checo had the clean line. As soon as he started to turn in I knew we were going to make contact because I was already on the limit of my car.
“I was braking as hard as I could and turning as hard as I could, but he had more grip on the racing line.
“The contact is one thing, the penalty is one thing, but then to get damage as well, that probably cost me 10 seconds of race time in the first stint.