George Russell aimed a cheeky dig about the F1 rules towards Red Bull rival Sergio Perez after their fierce battle for a podium spot in the French Grand Prix. The Mercedes star bettered Perez to seal P3 late in the day but was left fuming when the pair made contact earlier in the race.
As the pair jostled for position in the French GP’s most exciting battle, Russell attempted an overtake on lap 42 by diving down the inside of Perez at the entry to the chicane. Limited space resulted in the Brit making contact with Perez, who took to the runoff to maintain his position and left his rival raging in the aftermath.
After the race, Russell explained his delight in helping secure Mercedes’ first double podium of a troublesome season, with Lewis Hamilton finishing second behind Max Verstappen. But he also took a swipe at Perez over their incident, stating that the F1 rules when a driver is on the inside are ‘pretty clear’.
He told Sky Sports: “I’m absolutely sweating and a bit knackered now, to be honest. It was a long race, a tough race. The pace was strong, but we really struggled with the warm-up on that restart and Checo [Perez] was all over me. But I was happy to see that chequered flag and bring home P3.
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“I saw him [Perez] struggling when Sainz got past, and we had that one opportunity. For me, I had him down the inside. The rules are pretty clear – it’s front wheel to rear wheel when you’re on the inside. He didn’t really leave me much space, but nevertheless, I’m glad I came home, bringing home P3. Two podiums for Mercedes, it’s great.”
Russell took advantage of a strong restart after a late Virtual Safety Car to get the better run out of turn 14 and soar past Perez on lap 50. He successfully held off the Mexican’s late challenge to secure his fourth podium finish of the season and wrap up an excellent weekend for Mercedes at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet.
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