Brundle and Palmer think Russell’s Austrian GP penalty was “harsh”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Former F1 drivers Martin Brundle and Jolyon Palmer think the stewards were wrong to penalize George Russell at the Austrian Grand Prix, for his collision with Sergio Perez.

George Russell and Sergio Perez collided on lap 1 of the Austrian Grand Prix, while the Mexican was trying to pass the Briton around the outside of Turn 4.

This led to Perez being launched into the gravel, while both cars sustained damage. The stewards then decided to give Russell a five-second penalty, but Jolyon Palmer believes it was the wrong decision.

“The stewards, in my mind, inexplicably gave Russell a penalty,” Palmer said in his analysis of the incident.

“I think that’s because of the outcome rather than the actual infringement. I think that’s because you’ve got one driver spinning off backwards in the gravel, and you’ve got Russell on the inside who managed to carry on. That must be the reasoning of the stewards.

“He gets onto the curb, and it just causes him a slight moment of understeer into Perez. Look how much space Checo has on the outside.

“He can use a load more space trying to get this move done. He’s trying to pinch across towards the inside of Russell.

“For me, this is kind of a similar incident to Albon, and it’s a racing incident where both have kind of run into each other here. It’s a risky move, and it hasn’t paid off.

“I think the stewards called it wrong”, the Briton concluded.

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Martin Brundle agrees that the penalty was “on the harsh side”.

“Sergio Perez spins off the track after making contact with the Mercedes of George Russell on the opening lap of the Austrian Grand Prix,” he wrote in his Sky Sports column.

“I thought Russell’s penalty for contact with Sergio Perez on the opening lap in turn 4 was on the harsh side.

“I did 10 laps in my 1992 Benetton F1 car over the weekend in Austria and it reminded me of just how unsighted, tight, cambered, and demanding the likes of turns 3, 4, 6, and 9 are at this track.

“At the start of the race laden with fuel and with front tyres not fully up to temperature you’ll always understeer wide in turn 4, and going around the outside there is a very high-risk strategy especially given the ever tightening exit.

“I thought George did his best to climb the inside kerb and give space, and there was further space to the outside for Sergio.

“Conversely it’s a reasonable argument to say that the driver on the inside can always throttle off or even brake.

“But they won’t,” Brundle concluded.

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