Damage from Perez clash cost Russell “probably a second a lap” before pit stop

2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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George Russell says that he lost ‘probably a second a lap’ with damage sustained during an opening lap clash with Sergio Perez in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Russell passed Carlos Sainz Jnr at the start for third place, before the Ferrari driver fought back to retake the position. This allowed Perez to challenge the Mercedes, attempting a move around the outside of turn four. Russell clipped the inside kerb and then hit the right rear of the Red Bull, pitching Perez into the gravel.

The stewards handed Russell a five-second time penalty and two penalty points on his superlicence for the collision. Russell remained in fourth place but lost 11 seconds to Sainz ahead by the time he pitted for a front wing change and to serve his penalty at the end of lap 11. The Mercedes driver eventually finished fourth, while Perez later retired from the race due to damage from the contact.

“It was a bit frustrating to have the incident at ten four,” Russell said after the race.

“Obviously I lost a huge amount of lap time with the damage – probably a second a lap. Then to find out I got the penalty, then obviously the front wing change – a 20-second long pit stop – I guess it wasn’t bad in the end to finish where we did, to come back through the traffic a minute behind the leader.”

Russell accepted that he was responsible for the accident “to the letter of the law,” but insisted that “from the second I braked, I was on the limit of my car and there’s nothing more I can do”.

Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures
“I had a car ahead of me – we know the cars have improved a lot in turbulent air, but there’s still turbulent air,” Russell continued. “He squeezed me onto the kerb. I’m already on the limit and that pushed me bit wide again.

Following a weekend of heightened tensions between drivers and FIA’s race control team over perceived inconsistencies, Russell says drivers will be looking for further discussions with F1’s race directors about the rules of racing.

“I’m not placing blame on anybody here,” he said. “We all want consistency between drivers – for stewards we want consistency – but not every single incident is the same.

“I think between us we’re all going to review a load of incidents and as drivers we need to give our feedback if that should have been penalised or not. Hopefully that gives the stewards a better indication of our feelings. We just all need to be on the same page.”

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2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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6 comments on “Damage from Perez clash cost Russell “probably a second a lap” before pit stop”

  1. You did the crime so you do the time… Stop whining. The lack of self critique inside Mercedes F1 is pretty mind boggling.

    1. Unbelievable, he gets a 4th place, knocks Perez out and is complaining? 5 seconds was nothing, he should be properly penalised, this way he gains more than looses and will keep happening

      1. Of course giving the place back with Perez pitting, trailing at the back, and retiring would be a bit too harsh ;)

    2. The penalty was unfair, in my view. He did not understeer into Perez. If you watch the footage, you can see there’s still space available to the left of Perez. Checo simply decided not to take the margin that he should have, knowing that there is a car on the inside also trying to make the corner. It’s the same principle as the Hamilton-Verstappen collision at Copse in 2021.

  2. Perez should know that he is fighting for the world championship. Or does he even care at all? He is still in shot of it. I bet if this was Hamilton, he would have likely given more room or at least avoid Russell. I get it the penalty is clear, but Perez should have known that he was racing Russell who is not really in contention for wins. Or are they? Risking a collision and a performance loss of one second in a risky overtake is not worth it. Anyway, Russell finished 4th, so if he had no penalty, he’d probably finish only ahead of Hamilton, which is not really important for Mercedes.

  3. Perez was not risking anything more than anyone else in an F1 race. he had every right to expect Russel to stay on line, unfortunately, as Russel said, he was unable to hold the line and that resulted in the collision. None of this is deliberate, it is an accident, but someone is still at fault. it will happen again throughout their F1 careers, on some occasions they will be victims and on some they will be responsible, that’s life at the speed of an F1 race car.

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