Leclerc survives throttle issues to win Austrian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc held off local crowd favourite Max Verstappen despite throttle issues to win the Austrian Grand Prix, although the Scuderia was denied a 1-2 finish following a scary fire for Carlos Sainz.

Leclerc, who had not been on the podium since Miami, passed Verstappen three times on track as the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers were placed on different strategies.

A late throttle pedal worry did threaten to derail Leclerc, but he held on for his third victory of the 2022 Formula 1 season.

However, he was not joined on the podium with his teammate Sainz, who showed similar speed and was set to follow Leclerc over the finishing line but was eliminated by a late engine fire to hand Lewis Hamilton third position.

Verstappen led a fast formation lap in a bid to generate tyre temperature and on the medium tyres, enjoyed a tidy launch to hold the middle line and consolidate the lead into Turn 1.

Leclerc maintained position in second as third-starting Sainz was squeezed on the outside to rejoin side-by-side with George Russell, before he fought back past on the inside into Turn 3.

Sergio Perez, from fifth, could then have a sniff at the Mercedes with a drag race out of the right-hander, which left him on the outside for the Turn 4 left.

But Russell made contact with the right-rear of Perez’s Red Bull with his front-left to send the RB18 spinning into the gravel, albeit he rejoined by finding the asphalt run off by the barrier.

Ahead, Verstappen found a 0.985 seconds over Leclerc at the end of lap one of 71, with Sainz a further one second back while Perez eventually recovered to the pits for hards although would retire on lap 17.

Unlike the sprint race Verstappen won, the defending champion was not able to break away in the early laps as Leclerc within the one second window to keep hold of DRS.

On the sprint out of Turn 1 to Turn 3, the gap fell to as little as 0.5 seconds and with Perez heading for an early exit, Ferrari had the potential to splits its strategy to jump Verstappen.

Leclerc had his first tentative look up the inside of Verstappen into Turn 3 on lap 8 but thought better of it for the next three laps.

Then on lap 11, Leclerc made his move – diving down the inside into Turn 3. Verstappen, slower in the opening phase, gave his title rival room and barely put up a fight.

Verstappen tried to offer an attack on the outside of Turn 4 but locked up to fall behind.

Despite a big moment of oversteer and then a couple of lock ups for Leclerc, setting the fastest lap of the race at that stage allowed Charles to break free of DRS.

That prompted Verstappen to put for a set of hard tyres at the end of lap 13 but he was delayed with a 3.2 seconds stop courtesy of a slow front-left change to emerge in traffic.

That left Leclerc to lead over Sainz by 2.5 seconds as Verstappen had to carve his way past Mick Schumacher for fifth around the outside of the Turn 2 kink before demoting 2021 arch-rival Hamilton with relative ease by cutting back to get a good exit from Turn 3.

The Ferraris kept pounding round without stopping, Leclerc holding a 4 seconds advantage over Sainz before the race leader hit the pits at the end of lap 26 for a slick 2.6 seconds switch to hards.

Sainz immediately pitted the lap after for hards, the Scuderia duo returning to the track behind Verstappen but with the upper hand on race pace – Leclerc setting a new fastest lap.

On lap 33, Leclerc closed within DRS range of Verstappen before another cleanly decided move for first position at Turn 3. An early pass allowed Verstappen to fall back and gain DRS for the run to Turn 4 but he opted against a proper retaliation to confirm second place.

With Verstappen complaining of unpredictable grip levels, Red Bull pitted him again on lap 37 for another set of hards, which afforded Ferrari room for another stop 12 tours later.

Leclerc and Sainz both enjoyed quick changes to another set of hards but again faced the prospect of demoting Verstappen, the Dutch racer 2.5 seconds ahead with 20 laps left to play.

Again, Leclerc was quickly into a rhythm on the white-wall rubber to only two laps later gain DRS on Verstappen, the Ferrari moving to the outside for the run to Turn 3.

Leclerc smartly left Verstappen have the apex but turned sharper to jump on the throttle sooner and nail the exit to power back into the lead for the final time.

Sainz was then about to demote Verstappen for a Ferrari 1-2 but on the run to Turn 4, running in the Red Bull’s wake, a wisp of smoke started to waft out of his engine cover.

The Ferrari’s engine then failed spectacularly, with Sainz trying to pull up on the exit as flames burst but the slope of escape rolled meant he struggled to stop the car and jump out.

As flames crept towards the cockpit, Sainz was eventually able to hop out as the virtual safety car was triggered, Leclerc then holding 5.4 seconds over Verstappen.

At the end of lap 58, Leclerc used the slower conditions to stop for mediums and was followed by Verstappen for the run to the line.

Leclerc then complained about as throttle issue, the pedal not retracting fully to make the run through Turn 3 particularly challenging as the margin at the front came down.

A 4.1 seconds lead when the VSC ended began to fall, but Leclerc would hold on to seal the victory – his first since the Australian Grand Prix – by 1.5 seconds over Verstappen to chip away six points.

Hamilton was a distant third, crossing the line 40 seconds behind the top two. But he was placed on a two-stop strategy rather than three and delivered a remarkable surge up the order from ninth. The Mercedes driver’s race was notable for an entertaining battle with both Haas cars and then a DRS pass on Esteban Ocon.

Russell landed fourth ahead of Ocon, while Schumacher completed back-to-back points finishes in sixth after surging past McLaren’s Lando Norris and teammate Kevin Magnussen.

Daniel Ricciardo ran to ninth while Fernando Alonso completed the top ten, having survived a squeeze onto the grass by Yuki Tsunoda that prompted the two-time champion to wag his finger out the cockpit as he continued to fight for position.

Valtteri Bottas landed P11 for Alfa Romeo over Alex Albon, Lance Stroll and Zhou Guanyu.

A difficult weekend for Pierre Gasly ended with P15, the AlphaTauri again in the wars – this time gaining a 5 seconds penalty for catch Sebastian Vettel at Turn 4 and spinning the Aston Martin into the gravel. Vettel too was reprimanded by 5 seconds due to exceeding track limits.

Seb finished in P17, behind Tsunoda, to only head retirees Sainz, Nicholas Latifi and Perez.

So another Ferrari victory in the space of two weeks. The Scuderia beat rival Red Bull at their home track and it was a brilliant drive by Charles Leclerc despite throttle issues. Three overtakes on Max Verstappen reveal the extreme pace and strategy which sealed this win. Roll on the next Formula 1 racing event.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:24:24.312
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.532
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 41.217
4 George Russell Mercedes 58.972
5 Esteban Ocon Alpine 68.436
6 Mick Schumacher Haas +1 lap
7 Lando Norris McLaren +1 lap
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas +1 lap
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +1 lap
10 Fernando Alonso Alpine +1 lap
11 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +1 lap
12 Alex Albon Williams +1 lap
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1 lap
14 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +1 lap
15 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +1 lap
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +1 lap
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +1 lap
– Carlos Sainz Ferrari DNF
– Nicholas Latifi Williams DNF
– Sergio Perez Red Bull DNF

5 thoughts to “Leclerc survives throttle issues to win Austrian Grand Prix”

  1. Austrian Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won the Austrian Grand Prix over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with Lewis Hamilton completing the podium for Mercedes – after Carlos Sainz retired.

    Leclerc took the lead when the Sprint winner and championship leader Verstappen pitted on Lap 12. Leclerc pitted much later, on Lap 27, and retook the lead with a pass on Lap 37. With Sainz challenging Verstappen for P2, the Dutchman pitted again on Lap 37.

    Leclerc took his second stop on Lap 51 and retook the lead on Lap 53. With Sainz right on Verstappen’s tail, the Spaniard suddenly slowed – the fire at the rear of his Ferrari signalling the end of his race. That promoted Hamilton, who had battled from P8 to P4, to the final podium place.

    Despite a late-race scare in which Leclerc reported his throttle pedal to be sticking, making downshifts difficult and allowing Verstappen to close to within 2.3s, he won for the first time since Round 3 at Melbourne, Verstappen missing out on a third-straight win at the Red Bull Ring.

    George Russell was a distant fourth having started there, the Mercedes driver losing time in his first pit stop – a five-second penalty also tacked on as he collided with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez early on. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon rounded out the top five having started sixth, Perez having retired soon after that Russell collision.

    Mick Schumacher was the fans’ Driver of the Day, having overtaken both McLaren’s Lando Norris (P7 having served a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits) and Haas team mate Kevin Magnussen in P8. Daniel Ricciardo made it a double points finish for McLaren in P9, both the team’s drivers enjoying renewed pace with their medium-hard-hard strategy.

    Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10 from last on the grid for Alpine, having had to pit three times – a potentially unsafe release causing him to come in twice during the Virtual Safety Car caused by Sainz’s retirement.

    Starting from the pit lane, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas made it up to P11 at Alex Albon’s expense, the Williams driver having finished 12th after starting 15th.

    Lance Stroll was next in the order, 13th for Aston Martin, with Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu just behind in P14. Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda struggled for AlphaTauri, finishing 15th and 16th respectively. Damage picked up early on, however, left Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel 17th following a collision with Gasly for which the Frenchman was penalised.

    Sainz was the third retiree, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and Perez also bowing out, yet Ferrari have scored two consecutive victories to pile some pressure on championship leader Verstappen ahead of the French Grand Prix.

    Pre-race theatrics at the Red Bull Ring – including parachutists, a jet-engined truck and pilots pushing the limits – played undercard to the greatest show, 20 drivers facing off for supremacy in the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix.

    Nineteen drivers lined up on the grid with Valtteri Bottas starting from the pit lane, pole-sitter and Sprint winner Max Verstappen to lead the field ahead of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz – Fernando Alonso last on the grid with a new power unit.

    Clouds hovering over the circuit, sun poking out, the formation lap got under way without a hitch – everyone bar Zhou Guanyu, Yuki Tsunoda, Sebastian Vettel and Alonso starting on medium tyres.

    Verstappen scythed across the front of Leclerc at the start, Sainz going wide at Turn 1 but recovering to stay ahead of George Russell – on whom Sergio Perez attempted a move around the outside of Turn 4, ran out of room and was tapped into the gravel into last place from where he pitted with damage to take on hard tyres at the start of Lap 2.

    With Lewis Hamilton taking too much of the kerb out of Turn 1 on Lap 4, Mick Schumacher blazed past for P7 and had eyes on his Haas team mate up ahead. At the very front, Leclerc was in DRS range of Verstappen, Sainz another 2.5s back and Russell struggling to keep pace after his contact with Perez, for which the Briton would receive a five-second time penalty – the Mercedes leading a train of cars up to Lando Norris in P9.

    The Ferrari of Leclerc was menacing in the mirrors of Verstappen, still trailing the Red Bull – both having lapped Perez by this point – on Lap 10, when he’d make his move and almost made it into the lead down the inside of Turn 3. Leclerc tried again, switching to the outside of Turn 4, but Verstappen retained P1.

    “I cannot hold this long,” said Verstappen as he began to feel the heat. Lap 12, and Leclerc was right on his tail, braking late into Turn 4 and taking the lead down the inside.

    Russell took his five-second penalty in the pits on Lap 12, emerging last with a new nose and hard tyres in a slow stop, releasing Esteban Ocon into P4.

    Verstappen tried to hit back on Lap 13, locking up into Turn 4, and soon complied with the message to box, pitting for hards at the end of the lap. The stop wasn’t ideal and the reigning champion left the pits in P8. Norris was next to pit, coming in and giving the Dutchman another place.

    A little down the order, Hamilton was now on the pace, executing a stunning move on Schumacher for P5 down the inside of Turn 7 on Lap 15 and taking the next spot off Magnussen soon after. The Dane pitted but Schumacher stayed out, the Red Bull of Verstappen in his mirrors before blasting past on the run to Turn 3 on the next tour.

    Up next for Verstappen was the Mercedes of Hamilton – a crucial pass needing to be made if he was to challenge the Ferraris. The seven-time champion fought off his 2021 title rival initially, but had to give way on the run to Turn 4 on Lap 18. The question now was whether Verstappen had lost too much time in the process of taking P3.

    In the lead, Leclerc and Sainz continued to lap past Lap 20 with Verstappen picking up the pace and closing the gap.

    Alonso made it up to P8 by Lap 20 but let team mate Ocon, on newer tyres having pitted from P4 on Lap 15, past him. Ocon battled with Zhou and passed him inside Turn 4 on Lap 23. Alonso, however, couldn’t make it past Zhou for P8 and was stuck behind him for a number of laps. That allowed Magnussen to close the gap on newer tyres and send it down the inside of Turn 1 and trigger a five-car battle for position into Turn 3.

    In that five-car scrap, Norris also enjoyed his tyre advantage (having stopped for hards on Lap 14) to hop into P9 behind Magnussen – Zhou pitting for the start of Lap 25 – with Alonso then losing P10 to Schumacher, who had pitted for tyres on Lap 16. Schumacher pried P8 off Norris – who felt aggrieved that he hadn’t been given enough room into Turn 4 during that move.

    Verstappen bearing down, Leclerc pitted and emerged third on Lap 27, seven seconds between him and the Red Bull, while Sainz held a 10-second advantage in the lead before pitting on the following lap to emerge fourth behind Hamilton. That stop for Sainz saw Verstappen retake the lead.

    Hamilton would pit for hards in a stop that lasted 4.1 seconds – to cover off an undercut from Ocon – and emerge side-by-side with the Frenchman in the battle for P4 on Lap 29. Ocon edged ahead but lost out to the Briton entering Turn 3 on the following lap.

    Leclerc was pushing, the gap to Verstappen down to 1.5s on Lap 31, and two laps later he had DRS on the Dutchman, cutting down the inside and taking the lead back with ease at Turn 3. The reigning champion radioed to say that the car was “unpredictable” as he stared down a 1.5 second deficit to the Monegasque – aiming to protect a four-second advantage on Sainz.

    Schumacher, meanwhile, continued his strong show of pace, passing Magnussen (who ran wide at Turn 7) on Lap 34 for P6. The Dane would lose another place to Norris on Lap 42 and then pull in for another pit stop. Norris on the other hand had a five-second penalty for transgressing track limits.

    Lap 37 saw Verstappen bail out with Sainz in his mirrors, the Red Bull driver pitting from P2 for hards and emerge well clear of Hamilton. The Dutchman was soon told to “just match Hamilton’s lap times”, the seven-time champion just over six seconds behind – Leclerc enjoying the same advantage over his team mate Sainz.

    Leclerc took his second pit stop on Lap 51, one lap after team mate Sainz, to release Verstappen back into the lead – a lead that amounted to just two seconds over the first Ferrari, and just seven to the second of Sainz in P3.

    Leclerc bore down on the Dutchman and on Lap 53 came the pass for the lead as he enjoyed a superior exit from Turn 4, leading Verstappen to say: “What a joke that traction is.”

    Sainz was right on Verstappen’s tail but on Lap 57, the Ferrari driver slowed and pulled off the track. Soon, debris and flames began to pour out of the engine bay and through the scalloped sidepods of the Scuderia – but Sainz managed to climb out safely.

    He sat on a grassy bank, his expression conveying equal amounts of frustration and disbelief. That triggered a Virtual Safety Car, Leclerc and Verstappen pitting for mediums with Hamilton now third, having taken a free stop for a set of mediums on Lap 52. Alonso was the other taker, pitting just as the VSC ended on Lap 60.

    Leclerc led away as green-flag racing resumed, but complained that his throttle pedal felt “weird”, tifosi around the world struck with pangs of worry. The throttle issue began to become clear when Leclerc explained that it was stuck, and Verstappen began to cut the gap down as the leader struggled through the low-speed sections.

    But Leclerc hung on and won his first race since the Australian Grand Prix – albeit by just 1.5s by the flag. Hamilton completed the podium, a welcome result given his car was in pieces after qualifying.

    Russell started fourth and finished there, his slow pit stop and five-second penalty preventing him from reaching the rostrum. He held off Alpine’s Ocon, who completed the top five and was the last driver on the lead lap – making a net gain of one place thanks to Perez’s retirement.

    Schumacher left Norris, who served a five-second time penalty for track limits and Magnussen behind to finish sixth and take Driver of the Day honours – a second consecutive points score for him – and a double point score for Haas with Magnussen eighth. It was also a double points score for McLaren, Norris and Ricciardo’s similar medium-hard-hard strategies putting them seventh and ninth, respectively.

    Alonso, 10th for Alpine despite starting last, pitted during the VSC but had to come in again on the following lap, just as the VSC was ending, for another costly stop – with an unsafe release investigation to be undertaken by the Stewards.

    Bottas missed out on the top 10, finishing 11th from the pit lane having closed in on Alonso at the end, he held off Albon by 4.6 seconds, the Williams driver rapid in the straights and keeping Lance Stroll, 13th, at bay.

    Zhou endured a difficult day, starting on hards unlike the majority, and finishing 14th. He held off Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri and his team mate Yuki Tsunoda, who were 16th and 17th respectively.

    Sebastian Vettel complained that he had damage on his car early on, understeer making his job even harder, and his problems were compounded on Lap 40 as he was tapped into a spin while trying to pass Gasly around the outside of Turn 4. The German ended up 17th and last.

    Leclerc’s victory perhaps provided enough jubilation to account for Sainz’s retirement, but Red Bull will feel like they lost an opportunity after Verstappen took pole and won the Sprint – with Perez’s Lap 24 retirement costing them even more. Nicholas Latifi didn’t make it to the finish line either, his Williams pulled into the pits on Lap 47.

    At the home of the Bulls, the Prancing Horse reigned supreme – but who will take the spoils on neutral ground as the field heads to France for the next round?

  2. Austrian Grand Prix winner Charles Leclerc admitted he was “scared” as his Ferrari’s throttle was stuck open up to 30%. has the news story.

    A “scared” Charles Leclerc said his throttle was stuck to up to 30% as he battled to safeguard a “very tricky” victory in Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix.

    Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz seemed to clearly have the upper hand on Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on race pace. On offset strategies, Leclerc passed polesitter Verstappen three times on his way to a first win in nine races.

    But as Sainz retired from third place with a suspected engine failure on lap 57 of 71, Leclerc too suffered a dramatic reliability scare in the closing laps.

    The Monegasque driver reported issues with the throttle, which appeared to remain open in the corners. After a long back and forth with his Ferrari team, Leclerc held on to beat Verstappen by less than two seconds.

    A hugely relieved-sounding Leclerc said on the team radio that he was “scared” that he would lose another certain win after retiring from the lead in Spain and Azerbaijan.

    Afterwards Leclerc explained that his throttle pedal remained stuck in the corners between 20 and 30 percent, which made the last few laps “very tricky” to manage.

    “It was a really good race, the pace was there at the beginning, and we had some good fights with Max,” Leclerc said.

    “And the end it was incredibly difficult. I had this problem with the throttle, and it would get stuck at 20 or 30% throttle in the low speed.

    “It was very tricky but we managed to make it stick until the end. And I’m so, so happy.”

    When asked if the alarm bells started ringing after seeing Sainz’ car go up in smoke, Leclerc admitted Ferrari’s reliability record was on his mind.

    “Yeah, weirdly it was more or less at the same time, so of course, I had it in my mind,” he admitted.

    “I knew it was not a problem with the engine because it was really the pedal that was feeling weird. First at pick up and then at the end it would not come back to zero. But luckily it went until the end of the race.”

    Leclerc took his first win since the Australian Grand Prix in March as a mixture of reliability issues and questionable strategy calls contributed to an eight-race winless streak while title rival Verstappen built out a handsome lead in the drivers’ standings.

    As he took five points out of Verstappen over the Austrian GP weekend, which included a sprint race won by the Dutchman, Leclerc admitted he desperately needed to secure a third win of 2022.

    “I definitely needed that one,” he acknowledged. “I mean, the last five races have been incredibly difficult for myself, but also for the team, obviously.

    “And to finally show that we’ve got the pace in the car and that we can do it is incredible, so we need to push until the end.”

  3. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen commented that it was too much tyre degradation which wrecked his Austrian Grand Prix victory hopes. has the full details.

    Max Verstappen says he suffered too much tyre degradation to be able to fight Charles Leclerc for victory in Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver had led away early on from pole position, but soon came under attack from the pursuing Leclerc.

    After losing the lead to his Ferrari rival on lap 12, Verstappen pitted a lap later for a switch to the hard compound as he felt there was little point to push on with his car not comfortable on the mediums.

    But as Ferrari were able to comfortably extend their stint, Verstappen always found himself on the back foot and looked set to finish third before Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz dropped out with an engine failure.

    Welcoming the fact that he managed to salvage second on a day when Ferrari had a pace advantage, Verstappen said tyres played a critical role in the outcome.

    “It was a tricky day,” said Verstappen. “Immediately it seemed like we were struggling quite a bit with the tyres, and basically that continued on every single compound.

    “Too much degradation to really attack Charles especially. But nevertheless still second place is a good result for us on a difficult day.”

    Verstappen eventually finished ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who recovered from starting eighth on the grid to finish third.

    Having undergone a pretty difficult weekend following his crash in qualifying, the Mercedes driver confessed that he had not been expecting another top-three finish.

    “I definitely wasn’t expecting that,” he said. “But of course, yesterday was a bit of a difficult day. It’s been a bit of a rough weekend. But I’m really grateful. As a team, we got a third and fourth. That’s great points. And we move forward from here.”

    With Mercedes increasingly confident about the pace of his car, Hamilton sent a message of thanks to his crew who worked hard on Saturday morning to prepare him an all-new chassis.

    “I do really want to say a big thank you to the guys, the men and women in the garage who worked so hard to rebuild the car,” he explained.

    “I had a brand new car on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, it’s something I don’t do too often, but so thankful to them for working so hard.

    “We’ve made some improvements this weekend, so we just have to keep chipping away at it.”

  4. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was left feeling “lost for words” as engine failure robs Ferrari of an “easy 1-2” result. provides the story.

    Carlos Sainz says he is “lost for words’ after a spectacular engine failure robbed Ferrari of an “easy 1-2” at the Austrian Grand Prix.

    The British Grand Prix winner was sitting third while hunting down Red Bull’s Max Verstappen when his Ferrari engine let go in dramatic fashion on lap 58 of 71 at the Red Bull Ring.

    Sainz coasted onto the run-off at the exit of Turn 4 as his engine began to implode which ultimately caused a scary fire while the Spaniard attempted to climb out of the car.

    The failure came as a bitter blow as a charging Sainz was likely to pass Verstappen to complete a Ferrari 1-2 headed by teammate Charles Leclerc, who went on to take the chequered flag from Verstappen.

    Sainz admitted there was no warning signs that his engine was about to expire and was left to lament a missed opportunity for a “huge” result for the Maranello team.

    “As soon as it happened really, there was nothing coming from the engine that this was about to happen,” Sainz told Sky Sports F1.

    “It was very sudden and I’m bit a lost for words because it is a big loss on points and it would have been a huge result for the team. I think it would have been an easy 1-2.

    “There is damage for sure which is not ideal. It is something that we need to look at. The pace was there, the degradation was very low on our car, we were fast so. I will take it and turn the page as soon as possible.”

    This is the latest of a series of Ferrari engine failures this season which has resulted in the Scuderia throwing away valuable points in both the drivers’ and constructors’ title race.

    It could also come back to haunt Sainz later in the season with the possibility of engine penalties on the horizon after most likely losing an engine from his pool.

    Sainz also felt this engine failure was harder to accept given Ferrari had the pace edge over its rivals Red Bull at their home circuit.

    “For sure it is more difficult to take because we were about to cut the points to the leaders of the championship, both Max and Red Bull,” he added.

    “We were about to do a very big result for the team and one of the cars DNF’d, so it is heartbreaking, but we need to keep pushing. There is a long season ahead.”

  5. George Russell says he felt harshly treated by the FIA stewards for being penalised for his opening-lap clash with Sergio Perez in Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix.

    The Mercedes driver tangled with Perez fighting for fourth place on the first lap, with Russell hitting the side of the Red Bull on the exit of Turn 4 which sent the Mexican off.

    Russell was given a five-second penalty for the incident, while Perez later retired from the race due to the damage sustained to his Red Bull.

    The Mercedes driver, who also needed a front wing change after the collision, fought back to finish fourth in the Austrian GP but felt hard done as he had “nowhere to go” on the inside of the corner.

    “I’ve looked at the video and I think it’s harsh,” Russell said. “You are racing at the start, cars are everywhere. Checo did do a bold move going around the outside like that.

    “Obviously he’d done it before, he did it with Valtteri yesterday and Valtteri had to get right on top of the kerb to avoid him, which is exactly what I tried to do.

    “But with Carlos ahead of me there’s only so much you can brake and so much you can steer, and ultimately I had nowhere to go. Sorry to him to end his race.

    “There was probably more room on the outside for him, and as I said I was doing everything I could. And as soon as he got to a certain point I knew it was inevitable, because I was already at the limit of my car.

    “So, it’s risk versus reward and he had this with Lando last year, it was very close with Valtteri yesterday. The move with me today was exactly the same as these other two, so it was one of them.”

    Perez took an opposing view on the incident because he felt Russell lost control of his Mercedes which triggered the clash given he felt he’d given him enough space on the track.

    “I was clearly ahead, it was up to George to really control his car which he clearly couldn’t and we ended up making contact,” Perez said.

    “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 for both of us to make the corner.

    “For the standards of George’s level, I’m very surprised at that manoeuvre but anyway, it’s very disappointing for me and a very disappointing result for our team because clearly today there were a lot of opportunities.”

    Perez has slipped to third in the F1 drivers’ world championship as Charles Leclerc moved ahead thanks to his Austrian GP win, while Russell is fifth in the standings.


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