Sergio Perez explained that his Austrian Grand Prix felt like a “disaster”, after Christian Horner revealed there was a “big hole” in his sidepod that hindered his progress throughout the race.

This damage left him lacking straight-line speed and unable to make in-roads, with the Red Bull driver crossing the line seventh at the chequered flag, behind the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg.

Sergio Perez hindered by ‘big hole’ in sidepod from early damage

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Perez made contact with the McLaren of Oscar Piastri on the first lap as the two diced for position early on, but the Red Bull driver was left with a “significant loss” in performance, according to his team principal – making his performance tough to quantify as a result.

“Checo, I mean, again, it was a tricky race for him,” Horner said to media including after the race.

“He had quite a significant contact on the first lap with Lando [Piastri, sic.]. He had quite a big hole in the sidepod and then the loss of straight-line speed that that gives you, it’s a bit like an air brake.

“So that’s why he was struggling on straight-line speed. So [it was] difficult to judge Checo’s race due to the damage that he had.”

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When asked further about the scale of the damage and how much time he was losing in the race, Horner added: “I don’t have the exact numbers.

“All I know is he had lost a big hole, and it was being reported on the data that there was a significant loss because of it.”

For Perez himself, he admitted to his frustration at losing out – and referenced the sidepod damage as he came home in the lower reaches of the points.

“There was a lot of damage on the sidepod,” he confirmed to media including after the race.

“I touched a bit with Piastri at Turn 4, I don’t know if it came from there.

“It was unfortunate because we had a good start, but from then on, the car was just nowhere – nothing I could do, I was just off balance.

“Also with making a mistake on going into the pit lane with the pit limiter, it was just a disaster of a race that started really well.

“But I think with just lacking so much pace out there and lagging around, there was no hope for fighting people again.”

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