Sergio Perez claims that he “didn’t see” Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen as they endured a close call at the start of the F1 Sprint in Austria.

Perez, starting from second on the grid, had a better launch off the line and moved ahead of pole-sitter Verstappen into the first corner.

However, the Mexican driver ran slightly wide, allowing Verstappen to come back alongside him.

Perez then moved over to the right-hand side of the track to defend his position and Verstappen forced to back out or run onto the grass.

Verstappen then launched his car down the inside of Perez at Turn 2 and pushed him wide, which saw Perez drop down to third.

After winning the sprint race, Verstappen said over the team radio: “The exit of Turn 1 was not really nice. 

“That could have been a really big shunt. We need to have a chat about that. It was not OK.”

The pair were seen chatting about the close call in parc ferme, with Perez clarifying that he could not see Verstappen amid the spray from the wet track.

“I think Max was angry that I went into Turn 2 but I didn’t see him there, I just had a very bad Turn 1 and I tried to protect,” Perez said after the race.

“Once I realised that he was there I opened up the door and gave the place back into Turn 2.

“But it’s all fine, we just spoke about it because of the visibility. Although we were one and two, it was very bad.”

Verstappen dominated the shortened race and won by 21 seconds over Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Reflecting on his early battle with Perez, Verstappen said: “It was a little bit of a hairy moment out of Turn 1 and of course when you get forced onto the grass, it’s very slippery.

“But we managed to keep the car under control and from there once we just did our race.”

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