George Russell discovers Japanese GP penalty verdict after clashing with Oscar Piastri | F1 | Sport

The Mercedes and McLaren drivers were battling over P7 during the final handful of laps with Russell hunting down the Australian while on fresher medium compound tyres. 

Spotting an opportunity at the Turn 16 and 17 chicane, Russell lunged to the inside. Piastri, realising that there was not room for both drivers to remain on track, scampered off across the run-off area. 

The 23-year-old complained on the team radio that he was pushed off and ultimately held the position, but Russell managed to find a way past on the final lap following an error from Piastri at the same part of the circuit. 

After the chequered flag, both drivers were referred to the stewards with Russell facing a potential time penalty for forcing another driver off the track. This was not, however, the final decision.

Instead, no further action was needed, with the stewards citing that “the driver of Car 63 did not ‘dive in’ and was in control at the entry to Turn 16” and that “Car 63 was entitled to ‘racing room’ on Turn 16.”

This verdict ensured that Russell held onto P7, salvaging some valuable points from what was otherwise another miserable weekend for the Mercedes team. His colleague Lewis Hamilton was only fast enough for P9 and was left dejected after the race.

Offering his thoughts about a challenging Japanese GP and the clash with Piastri, Russell said: “It was an exciting race towards the end. It’s always nice to be attacking rather than defending, and it was good, hard racing.

“There was some contact with Oscar, which was a racing incident, but I was glad to get the position in the end. It’s close between the four teams behind Red Bull and qualifying is going to be critical at each race.

“Whoever starts ahead will likely finish at the front of that pack. We know we’ve got work to do and we will keep pushing. Hopefully, a track like the one in China will suit us better.”

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