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Sergio Perez

Perez hits out at Russell after clash: I'm very surprised at him

Red Bull's Sergio Perez was forced into retirement at the Austrian Grand Prix following a first-lap collision with Mercedes rival George Russell.

Perez Russell before crash Austria
To news overview © XPB Images

Sergio Perez has expressed his surprise at George Russell's approach to their wheel-to-wheel battle at the start of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Perez got a run on fourth-placed Russell around the outside of Turn 4, managing to get the nose of his Red Bull in front of the Mercedes.

But as the pair worked their way through the corner, Russell's front-left wheel made contact with Perez's sidepod and sent the Mexican into the gravel.

While Perez was able to get back on track, significant bodywork damage meant Red Bull soon instructed him to retire the car.

Perez: I was clearly ahead of Russell

Russell was hit with a five-second time penalty for his actions, eventually following teammate Lewis Hamilton home in fourth.

"I was clearly ahead," Perez told media, including RacingNews365.com, as he looked back on the scrap.

"It was up to George to really control his car, which he clearly couldn't, and we ended up making contact.

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

"For the standards of George, [and his] level, I'm very surprised at that manoeuvre."

Perez's championship chances take a dent

Following the retirement, Perez has slipped to third in the Drivers' Championship, significantly off the points lead.

Charles Leclerc is 19 points ahead in second, with leader and teammate Max Verstappen 57 points clear.

Meanwhile, Red Bull have a 56-point advantage over Ferrari in the Constructors' standings after Leclerc's win and Verstappen's second-place finish.

"It's very disappointing for me and a very disappointing result for our team, because clearly today there were a lot of opportunities," added Perez.

"Zero [points races] are very painful, especially when you're in the midst of the championship."

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