Sergio Perez had sidepod damage after potential hit from Oscar Piastri as they reflect on F1 Austrian GP, with Charles Leclerc adding his bit.

It was another grand prix to forget for Red Bull’s Perez in F1 Austrian GP. He was not alone as Ferrari’s Leclerc joined in to share the grief. While the Mexican could salvage some points, the Monegasque was on the cusp of it in 11th.

It all started off on Lap 1 when Perez and Leclerc jostled for positions along with McLaren’s Piastri. The Monegasque was in the middle of it, with the Australian having to take the run-off route on the outside and the Mexican taking the inside line.

Leclerc was the biggest to lose out on Lap 1 as a front wing damage forced him to pit. He had to undertake four pit stops to recover to 11th but he lost a lot of time behind the leaders as he couldn’t overtake them to receive blue flags.

That halted his chance to score which Ferrari projected it to happen. The other one to lose out was Perez who seemingly damaged his sidepod as post-race, they saw a hole on the side of it. The Mexican wasn’t sure where it came from but reckons it was from Lap 1.

He was mostly at the fag end of the Top 7 battle and even lost to Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg on the final lap, with the damaged car. Even though Piastri dropped back of this pack on Lap 1, eventually he gained the most to end up on the podium in second.

The loss of Max Verstappen and Lando Norris was a gain for the Australian, who managed to pass Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz to hop onto the podium. Leclerc reckoned Perez was a bit too optimistic with the move, which resulted in the minor contacts.

Perez: “It was lot of damage on the sidepod, I think I touch a bit with Piastri into Turn 4, it might have been from that. It was unfortunate, I had a good start but the car was nowhere, it was always on the knife edge. Nothing I could do, I was off balance, also making a mistake into the pitlane with the pit limiter. It was just a disaster of a race, it started really well but then just lacking so much pace around, there was no hope of fighting people ahead. It was all over the place, we tried to fix it bit here and there but we were nowhere. It was all right [with Hulkenberg], he did a mistake in the final corner but I couldn’t get him, couldn’t get the traction out of Turn 3, it was quite tough towards the end of the race.”

Piastri: “I didn’t get the best of starts, but saw a bit of an opening on the outside and then, yeah, went nice and late on the brakes. I couldn’t really see where Checo went on the inside, but I didn’t think he was really that far up alongside Charles, but obviously all three of us kind of met at the apex. So, yeah, quite fortunate for myself. I think there was a little bit of damage, but I don’t think anything major. Had a bit more contact with Checo again a bit later in the lap. So, yeah, it was an eventful race. As for the move against Carlos at the end, Turn 6 was a happy hunting ground this weekend. I think I did three moves there around the outside. Yeah, very, very close on the way into Turn 4. And then, yeah, just had a bit more grip around the outside of 6 and managed to get it done.

“So, yeah, pretty happy with that. And for George, I mean, I was more or less trying to do a similar thing, I guess, trying to get back to the podium. You know, I felt like that would have been a good result from where we started. And then, yeah, obviously when you’re in contention for a win, yeah, things change a little bit. In terms of what you need to do on track it’s exactly the same. You try and focus on what’s ahead and you’re just trying to drive as fast as possible especially with only five or six laps to go. So I tried my best. I think I went off a couple of times trying to catch George but I can’t say I didn’t try.

Leclerc: “Well, first of all, we lost a lot with the front wing change at the beginning, then we did an whole stint behind Lando where I couldn’t overtake because otherwise I would have had blue flags and would have had to let him go again. Both things made my race pace very difficult. When we had to use the pace to recover, we were stuck behind Lando, and the rest just struggling. First, we are not competitive enough. And second, obviously, our race was hugely compromised after the first turn.

“I mean, I tried to back out, but I felt like Checo was a bit optimistic on that one, it never ends well in Turn 1 if you try to go three-wide. Already two wide is quite tricky, so three wide was very difficult. Oscar didn’t know, Checo was on the inside, and I found myself as a passenger. And then when you brake, Checo brakes even later, so once you’re there, you’re there. So, I tried to manage the situation as best as possible, but it was impossible.”

Here’s how the start was:

Here’s the move from Oscar Piastri on Sergio Perez:

Here’s Max Verstappen, Lando Norris on their Austrian GP hit

Here’s how F1 Austrian GP panned out

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