Sergio Perez furious with George Russell after he takes leaf out of Lewis Hamilton’s book

Sergio Perez and George Russell crashed on the opening lap in Spielberg, ultimately putting the Mexican out of the race.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has laid the blame firmly at Mercedes driver George Russell’s door after the pair collided on the opening lap of the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Mexican had started fifth behind Russell after recovering from P13 in the sprint on Saturday, and he was attempting to go around the outside of the 24-year-old at Turn Four when the Mercedes tagged his rear end.

It was a carbon copy of the incident between Sir Lewis Hamilton and Alex Albon there in 2020, and the 32-year-old was sent spinning into the gravel trap.

In the end, there was too much damage to his car and he had to retire from the race, and he believed that Russell was entirely to blame.

READ: Charles Leclerc explains throttle issues as he admits he was concerned about reliability

“It’s a big shame for us what happened today,” Perez told Sky Sports after the race.

“Because I clearly felt from the outside that we did everything we possibly could to avoid the incident, it’s only lap one and it was up to George to really control his car.

“But he couldn’t control it clearly, and we ended up making contact when I was clearly ahead.”

Russell was given a five-second penalty and had to change his front wing, but he recovered to P4 as team-mate Hamilton got his third consecutive podium in P3.

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The 37-year-old took advantage of a reliability failure for Carlos Sainz late on, but the Spaniard’s non-finish is little consolation for Perez.

“Not at all,” he affirmed.

“I’m very sorry for Carlos, what happened today, but that’s not to do with us.”

READ: George Russell ‘shocked’ by FIA after Sergio Perez penalty

Charles Leclerc looked fundamentally faster than Max Verstappen early on, passing the polesitter for the lead.

He and Sainz had been trading pit stops with Verstappen out front, and the Scuderia seemed to have better race as the pair twice pitted for fresh tyres to negate Verstappen’s stops and overtake the Dutchman on fresh tyres.

After Leclerc’s penultimate stop onto Hards, he passed the reigning champion again, and it looked as though Sainz was primed to do so before his issue, so Red Bull will need to go away and figure out why they were not as quick as their rivals this weekend.

“Definitely, I think the car this weekend hasn’t been really up there so there is some good analysis to be done from the weekend,” stated Perez.

Leclerc would hold off Verstappen after encountering throttle issues at the end of the race, and he claimed his first victory since the Australian Grand Prix in the third round of the season.