George Russell escapes with FIA warning as Sergio Perez punished for Austrian GP incidents

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GEORGE RUSSELL crashed out of Friday’s qualifying session at the Austrian Grand Prix.

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George Russell has been given a warning by the FIA for entering the track on foot while Sergio Perez saw all of his Q3 lap times deleted after Friday’s eventful qualifying session at the Austrian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen went on to claim pole position for Saturday’s sprint event at the Red Bull Ring but the day’s running was overshadowed when both Mercedes drivers crashed out in Q3, with Lewis Hamilton skidding into the barriers before Russell lost control at the final corner and rear-ended the wall.

The latter’s crash brought out the red flags for the second time in the session while the debris was cleared and it was quickly noted by the FIA that Russell had walked onto the circuit as he made his way back to the pit lane. The Mercedes driver has managed to escape with only a warning, though, after being spoken to by the stewards in the aftermath of proceedings.

“Russell had just crashed in turn 10 and caused a red flag,” read an official FIA statement. “He then crossed the track on foot and entered the section of the pit lane that does not have a speed limit, without permission from any marshals.

“At the time he started crossing the track, some of the cars were still on track and could possibly have missed the pit entry, causing an unsafe situation. The stewards spoke to the driver and he was issued a warning.”

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George Russell escapes with FIA warning as Sergio Perez punished for Austrian GP incidents

George Russell and Sergio Perez faced the wrath of the FIA after Friday’s session (Image: GETTY)

Russell’s warning comes after Sergio Perez was punished heavily by the stewards for exceeding track limits, with the Mexican driver now set to start Saturday’s sprint event from 10th place. He had originally qualified in fourth but was dropped back after he was deemed to have ventured outside the white line at Turn Eight before his final Q2 run, which was ultimately quick enough to get him into Q3.

“This situation, where a driver moves through to a subsequent round of qualifying, and then is identified as having committed a track limits breach, does not happen regularly and certainly not recently,” read another statement.

“Thus, the stewards have to examine this as a new situation. The team made the point that they took both risk and expended resources to compete in Q3. The stewards accept this point.

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George Russell escapes with FIA warning as Sergio Perez punished for Austrian GP incidents

Both Mercedes drivers crashed out in Q3 on Friday (Image: EXPRESS)

“However, in assessing a penalty after a session, this is no different than any other situation. The usual penalty is deleting the lap time concerned, and the stewards order the same penalty here.

“However, as a consequence, the driver would not have proceeded into Q3 and therefore, in fairness to all the other competitors, the stewards order that all the lap times for Q3 for the driver also are deleted.”

It remains to be seen whether Perez will be able to make up some lost ground over the course of Saturday’s sprint event in Austria, with the 32-year-old likely to be among the quickest drivers on track as a result of Red Bull’s impressive pace. Russell will also be desperate to climb up the order ahead of Sunday’s race in order to boost his chances of securing a fourth podium finish since the beginning of the year.

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