George Russell recovered from a first-lap collision with Sergio Pérez to finish in 4th place at the Austrian Grand Prix, after initially losing a “second a lap” due to the incident.
Russell made an excellent start to the race, and was involved in an opening lap battle with Pérez and Carlos Sainz.
However, it all got too close for comfort at Turn 4, with Russell hitting Pérez, who was attempting a move on the outside of the Mercedes driver.
The move ended in traditional fashion for Turn 4 at the Red Bull Ring, with the driver on the outside being hit and spinning into the gravel.
Pérez, soon after the collision, was forced to retire from the race, after picking up substantial damage from the incident.
Russell was awarded a 5-second time penalty after being deemed to have caused a collision, with the Red Bull driver having his nose ahead of the Brit.
The Mercedes driver also suffered from damage as a result of the incident, resulting in the former Williams driver losing a “second a lap” until his opening pit-stop, where the team fitted a new front-wing.
Russell’s opening stop saw him drop into the bottom half of the field, after being stationary for 20 seconds.
The stop took what felt like an eternity for the British driver, who, as well as being fitted with a new front-wing and tyres, also had to serve his penalty.
Despite it all, though, Russell recovered an excellent 4th place finish, securing a 3-4 for the German team.
Whilst recognising his end result “wasn’t bad”, Russell was frustrated to have had the incident which lost him a “huge amount of lap-time”.
“It was a bit frustrating to have the incident at turn 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.”
As well as the time-penalty, Russell also had two points added to his superlicence; however, after the race, Russell accepted responsibility for causing the crash “to the letter of the law”.
Russell continued to explain that “from the second I braked, I was on the limit of my car and there’s nothing more I can do.
“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.”
The incident comes at a time when tensions between the FIA and the drivers are continuing to build, with many of the competitors becoming unhappy by the race directors being inconsistent.
Russell is hopeful that discussions will take place between the drivers and race directors, over what the rules of racing actually are.
“I’m not placing blame on anybody here,” the British driver 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,” concluded Russell.