Christian Horner demands George Russell penalty

After another disappointing qualifying performance, Sergio Perez misses out on a podium finish for the second race running.

Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, believes Sergio Perez missed out on a third-place finish in Spain due to a punishable George Russell manoeuvre.

The Mercedes driver started the Spanish GP in 12th place, one place behind Perez, but Russell managed to gain valuable positions on the opening corner.

A fine launch turned near collision forced Russell into the escape road. The stewards investigated the move and concluded no advantage was at play.

Such a move proved critical in securing a podium finish. Unsurprisingly, Horner has contested the legality of the move.

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“Checo lost out in the early laps,” he said.

“He didn’t have a great start, while George managed to get away with running off track, not getting a penalty from that. I think that was the difference at the end of the day.”

“Checo’s race was getting stronger and stronger. That last stint in particular he was coming back very strong, but there were just not enough laps to fight for that podium,” Horner stated.

Nonetheless, there has been a clear dip in form for the Mexican in recent weeks and championship leader Max Verstappen has been able to capitalise.

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The Dutchman finished the Spanish GP on a hat trick of wins as his teammate Perez could only manage a 16th-placed finish in Monaco and a frustrating 4th in Spain.

Another weekend of poor qualifying has severely dented Perez’s chances of championship glory, with Verstappen only improving.

A crash in Q1 in Monaco diminished hope of a podium finish and a shocking Q2 elimination in Spain swept the Mexican into 11th place on the grid.

Such antics have granted Verstappen a 53-point lead in the driver’s championship.

Perez finished the Spanish GP 3.5 seconds off third-place finisher George Russell – anything but a podium finish will feel like a failure for Perez if his post-race comments are anything to go by.

“I am disappointed with today,” Perez admitted.

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“We have ultimately paid the price for a bad qualifying.

“We had a good strategy, but looking at where we started from, there was only so much that we could do.”