Mercedes driver George Russell does not believe he was completely at fault for the incident that put Sergio Perez out of the race in Austria, and wants there to be more consistency from the stewards.
Even before the Austrian Grand Prix weekend had started, controversy was brewing in the paddock following Fernando Alonso’s bemusement at a lack of any penalties being handed out to Perez or Charles Leclerc.
He felt that The Mexican had left the track and gained an advantage, while the 24-year-old had been aggressively weaving on the straight to defend his position – the double world champion was penalised for both of these things in Miami and Canada.
Conversations continued as to the stewarding conundrum when Perez’s track limits violation was not spotted as the 32-year-old scraped into Q3, although race control eventually rectified this by putting him down to 13th for the sprint race.
In the main event, Russell tagged Perez on the inside of Turn Four on the opening lap, giving them both damage, and the Red Bull driver was ultimately unable to continue.
The Briton needed a change of front wing, but he recovered to fourth having received a five-second penalty for his troubles after being found as the cause of the incident.
Russell believes that there was not an awful lot either driver could have done to avoid the accident once they made it to the braking zone of Turn Four.
“Every single incident is different. The dynamics of every single incident are different,” he said.
“The fact was Checo was on my outside and I needed to leave him space, but if he puts me in a position where I’m already at the limit of my car and someone turns in that has more grip, there’s nowhere I can go.
“To the letter of the law, I was in the wrong and he was in the right, but from the second I braked I was on the limit of my car and there’s nothing more I can do.
“He had clean air, Carlos [Sainz] was on the inside defending, that’s what happens on the first lap and he has a lot of experience, he knows how this goes.
“But from the stewarding perspective, it’s so difficult. We are all looking at consistency, but we don’t want penalties being dished out left, right and centre.”
The Briton explained that the drivers are perennially feeding back to the FIA on the way the stewards have approached incidents, and he hopes this will help refine their consistency going forward.
“As I said, I’m not placing blame on anyone here, we all want consistency between drivers, and the stewards want consistency,” added Russell.
“But not every single incident is the same and between us, we will all review a load of incidents and as drivers give our feedback on whether 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.”
Sebastian Vettel was given a suspended fine in Austria for walking out of the drivers’ briefing early when Alonso would not stop talking about the penalties he picked up in Miami and Montreal.