Mercedes finally clinched their first double podium of the season at Paul Ricard. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished P2 and P3 at the French GP. With Charles Leclerc forced to retire after losing his rear during the first half, Max Verstappen took the lead. Meanwhile, Hamilton was comfortable behind the Dutchman and stayed consistent. However, the most crucial battle of the main race was between Sergio Perez and George Russell for a P3 finish. 

Checo had the upper hand as he ran P3 while Russell tried his best to get ahead. The two drivers showed a fierce battle during the last stages of the match before a late Virtual safety car was deployed after Zhou Guanyu’s DNF. Eventually, the safety car restart allowed Russell to get ahead of Sergio Perez and stay there during the final few laps to his fourth podium of the 2022 championship.

Perez Unhappy With The VSC Restart

Perez was naturally devastated by the race’s outcome as he fended off an overtake by the Briton earlier at turn 8. During lap 41, Russell dived on the inside of Checo’s RB18 at turn 8, forcing the Mexican driver to go wide while fighting for a P3 finish. Checo reckoned that he went off the curb to avoid ruining the race of both the drivers, who showcased some exciting action during the final few minutes of the race. 

Talking about the incident, Sergio Perez told that his battle with Russell was a good one except for turn 8. Checo revealed that if he had attempted the corner, their race would have been ruined. Apart from that, it was a tough battle and a good effort from George Russell to end ahead of him.

Sergio Perez Red Bull
Perez

Perez was not pleased with the timing of the Virtual Safety Car, triggered on lap 50. It allowed Russell to get past him with only three laps to go. Checo added, “I just got screwed with the Virtual Safety Car because it said it was going to end at turn 9.” However, it eventually ended at turn 13, and Perez had no idea what the race control was doing with it.

Russell Satisfied With His Late Overtake To Secure P3

Talking about the VSC restart, Russell shared that he was aware of the massive opportunity for him during the restart. George felt that Checo was all over the place during the VSC. Hence, the Briton knew that if he timed the restart perfectly, he would have a chance of getting past Sergio Perez. Moreover, he thought that Checo was breaking to stay about the delta time. Meanwhile, Russell accelerated to overtake the Red Bull driver, which was quite satisfying for him. 

George Russell
Russell

The Mercedes driver further said that he saw an opportunity and went for it. The Briton was a little disappointed Perez was not asked to give the place back. Russell pulled out his first overtake at turn 8 in lap 41. Moreover, Russell also shed light on the incident. He claimed that the rules were clear to him. The driver whose front wheels are ahead of the defending car’s rear wheels has the corner. George mentioned that Sergio Perez turned in, pushed him to the curb, and kept going. The Briton added, “For me, it was pretty clear he had to give the position back. But nevertheless, P2, P3 for the team, a great result.”

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