Perez blames Russell for ‘clearly not controlling his car’

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez walks through the paddock after his car failed. Montreal June 2022

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez walks through the paddock after his car failed. Montreal June 2022

Sergio Perez pinned full blame on George Russell for their opening-lap collision at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Russell started the race from P4 on the grid, a place ahead of Perez who had cut through the pack during sprint qualifying.

The pair went to battle during the first lap of the race, but as history has shown, Mercedes, Red Bull and Turn 4 of the Red Bull Ring has never been the best of recipes.

That rang true again in 2022 as Russell and Perez collided at Turn 4, Perez sent into the gravel, and although he got going again, he lagged at the back in the heavily damaged Red Bull before retiring from the race.

“Nothing I could do, he just turned into me,” Russell exclaimed on the radio.

“You see it clear, no? With George? I gave him enough room,” was Perez’s version of events.

The stewards shared Perez’s opinion, handing Russell a five-second penalty having judged him to have been wholly responsible for the collision.

Speaking to media personnel post-race, Perez stuck with the view that Russell was in the wrong, saying the Brit had failed to control his Mercedes.

“Big shame for us what happened today,” said Perez. “Because clearly it felt from our side that we did everything we possibly could to avoid the incident.

“It’s only Lap 1 and it was up to George to really control his car, he couldn’t control it clearly. And we ended up making contact when I was clearly ahead.”

Perez was not the only driver failing to finish in frustrating circumstances, Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari having suffered an engine blowout as he lined-up a pass on Perez’s team-mate Max Verstappen to take P2.

That misfortune for Sainz did let Red Bull off the hook in the Constructors’, but Perez could not take any consolation from it.

“Not at all to be honest,” he said in refusal of the suggestion. “I’m very sorry for Carlos, what happened today, but yeah that’s not to do with us.”

Although Red Bull had the edge in the sprint, over the race distance, Ferrari were clearly the strongest team at the Red Bull Ring.

Asked if Red Bull has work to do, Perez replied: “Yeah definitely. I think the car this week, it hasn’t been really up there.”