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Perez rues ‘really difficult race’ in Austria after sidepod was ‘completely destroyed’ in first-lap incident

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 30: 7th placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks to

Sergio Perez endured another challenging weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix, with the Mexican ending the race in P7 after sustaining significant damage in an incident on the opening lap.

Having started from P8 on the grid, Perez battled with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc before continuing the fight with Piastri, resulting in the Australian having a brief run into the gravel after being pushed wide by the Red Bull.

READ MORE: Russell claims surprise win in Austria after Verstappen and Norris dramatically collide in battle for the lead

These incidents had a lasting effect for Perez, who revealed later on that his RB20 had been running with a heavily damaged sidepod throughout the race, resulting in a difficult day for the 34-year-old.

2024 Austrian Grand Prix: Piastri passes Perez for P6 round the outside of Turn 6

“Unfortunately we ended up picking [up] a lot of damage into Turn 4, I think that was with Piastri, and the sidepod was completely destroyed,” explained Perez.

“I just had no load out there, I was sliding like a duck all over the place, didn’t matter which compound, which stage of the race.

MONDAY MORNING DEBRIEF: ‘We did everything wrong’ – Did Red Bull’s strategy calls really put Verstappen into Norris’s clutches?

“I was just trying everything with the tools but, yeah, it was a really difficult race out there.”

The event marked the latest in a run of trying weekends for Perez, who recorded two eighth places and two DNFs in the four races prior to Austria.

Car damage left Perez ‘sliding like a duck all over the place’

Asked about being on this run of seemingly very little luck, the six-time race winner responded: “I mean, we’ve seen the light and then, all of a sudden, all the things [happen]… to pick up this damage.

“I think the race pace was looking good. I could keep up with the people ahead in the early stages with the damage so it’s a massive shame. We just couldn’t get the maximum out of the race today.”

READ MORE: Horner labels Verstappen’s penalty ‘harsh’ as he gives his take on 'frustrating' collision with Norris

Perez is now in fifth place of the drivers’ standings on 118 points, just six points ahead of Piastri in P6 and seven points ahead of Russell in P7.

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