Red Bull chief accuses Sergio Perez of "sleeping" in damning French GP comments

Red Bull chief Helmut Marko blasted Sergio Perez for his performance during the French GP.

The Mexican seemed off the pace throughout the weekend as teammate Max Verstappen cruised to victory after Charles Leclerc crashed out.

Perez was struggling to fend off George Russell for the final podium spot and was doing a good job until a virtual safety car was deployed.

READ MORE: Charles Leclerc crashes out of French GP while leading after losing car at 100mph turn

Russell secured the podium finish by producing a nifty move on Perez following the end of the virtual safety car. The 24-year-old appeared to be backing off the Red Bull just as the period was ending, but he then accelerated quickly and appeared to catch Perez napping as he was able to overtake him on the inside.

Though Perez came back at Russell, the Briton held on to third place until the flag, prompting Marko to voice his displeasure at Perez losing the position. "It is very unfortunate that Checo was asleep at the restart," the Austrian told ServusTV . "A certain third place was lost there."

Perez spoke to Sky Sports F1 and said it was not so much a case of him being caught napping, but rather he was unsure just exactly when the VSC would end. "Difficult afternoon," he said. "First of all, we should have another podium. I don’t know what was going on with the Virtual Safety Car. I just got caught out with it, because it was telling me it was ending already from the exit of [Turn] 8.

"It ended up at the end of [Turn] 15. So there was something going on there and I got caught out with it." The two clashed earlier in the race when Russell made contact with Perez, forcing the Mexican into the runoff area, but the Mercedes driver was adamant it was his corner.

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"I was a little bit disappointed not to keep the position," he said. "I feel like when I made the overtake, the rules are pretty clear. If your front tyres are in front of the driver's rear tyres, you have the right to the corner and he squeezed me onto kerb. Nevertheless, it all worked out for the best in the end."

Perez was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton at the start, moving into third place, and drove a strong race, holding the Mexican off in the early laps before edging away into a three-second lead by the time of Charles Leclerc's crash and the safety car.

Hamilton was comfortably faster than Perez for the remainder of the race and left him to fight with Russell for P3.

The Brit secured his first P2 finish this season while teammate Russell came third which marked the first time the pair have stood on the podium together as teammates.

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