George Russell unhappy with FIA ruling after moment of brilliance

George Russell got into the podium places late on at the French Grand Prix by passing Sergio Perez.

Mercedes’ George Russell was relieved to cross the line after holding on to third place at the French Grand Prix in the dying laps from Sergio Perez.

Russell started the race P6 after Lando Norris had got between himself and team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton in qualifying.

The 24-year-old managed to clear his compatriot, but then lost a place to Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, so he had to take that back later in the opening stint.

The Briton was passed by the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz after the Safety Car restart following Charles Leclerc’s crash while he was leading proceedings, as the Spaniard was recovering from the back of the grid due to his engine penalty.

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Sainz was forced to pit for the Mediums after the Safety Car came out too early for his strategy, forcing him to make a mandatory stop as well as an additional one to get to the end.

To make matters worse for the 27-year-old, he then had to serve a five-second penalty for an unsafe release during his first stop.

This gave Russell P4 back, but he became stuck behind Sergio Perez having tried to clear the Mexican at Turn Eight before Sainz’s stop, as the 32-year-old left the track before coming back on in front.

No further action was taken was taken by the stewards, but Russell had one last trick up his sleeve to clear the Red Bull driver, and he took advantage of a Virtual Safety Car restart to pass Perez around the outside of Turn 14 having reacted quicker to the green flag.

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He held on to P3 to ensure Mercedes’ first double podium score of the season as Sir Lewis Hamilton finished second behind race winner Max Verstappen, so it was a superb day for the Silver Arrows.

“I’m absolutely sweating and a bit knackered now to be honest,” Russell told David Coulthard after the race.

“It was a long race, tough race, and the pace was strong but we really struggled with the warm-up on that restart and Checo was all over me.

READ: Lando Norris shocked as he claims Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ‘underperformed’

“But I was glad to see that chequered flag and I came home P3.”

Russell detailed his initial attempted move on Perez, and felt that the Mexican ought to have left more room on the inside.

“I saw him struggling when Sainz got past and I had that one opportunity,” he explained.

“For me, I was down the inside, the rules are pretty clear; it’s front wheel to rear wheel when you’re on the inside… that’s what I had [but he] didn’t really leave me enough space.

“Nevertheless, glad I could carry on, bring it home P3 and two podiums for Mercedes, it’s great.”

Sunday’s race was the first time this season that Mercedes have got both cars on the podium, having previously done so at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.