Sergio Perez handed grid penalty for impeding in Melbourne qualifying

Sergio Perez handed grid penalty for impeding in Melbourne qualifying

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has been handed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Australian Grand Prix after it was determined that the driver had impeded Nico Hulkenberg during the first round of Saturday’s qualifying session.

Perez had finished third in qualifying to secure a spot on the second row of tomorrow’s grid after the incident was reported to the race stewards at the time, prompting a review after the session was over.

The Haas driver was forced to execute an evasive maneuver on his flying lap after running into Perez, who was making a slower outlap approaching turn 13. Hulkenberg rounded the turn with the Red Bull directly ahead of him.

“That was impeding by Perez, turn 13,” Hulkenberg said.

“We’ve reported,” race engineer Gary Gannon replied.

Soon after the incident, the stewards confirmed that they were going to carry out an investigation after the session. Perez qualified third on the grid while Hulkenberg was knocked out at the end of the first qualifying round.

“He was having a Mexican siesta, I think,” a disgruntled Hulkenberg said of Perez after the incident. “He wasn’t looking in the mirror, and the closing speed coming around turn 12 is so quick now.

“If you’re not paying attention enough it happens very easily and quickly, but of course it shouldn’t happen.”

The stewards interrogated both drivers and found that Red Bull had impeded the Haas driver, which resulted in Perez being demoted three spots down the grid for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix race.

“Perez, who was on an out-lap, was at the apex of the turn and Hulkenberg had to leave the racing line to drive around him,” the stewards observed. “Hulkenberg was forced to lift the throttle early and brake early for that corner.

“In reviewing the audio from Perez’s car, the stewards observed that the team was focused on the car in front of Perez that had just slowed, and did not give Perez a warning that Hulkenberg was behind him until one second before Hulkenberg arrived, and significantly too late to avoid impeding Hulkenberg.

“While the stewards appreciate the dynamic situation facing the team and driver during the Q1 session, which was described in the hearing, the stewards find that Perez ‘unnecessarily impeded’ Hulkenberg and issue a three grid place drop, consistent with previous cases.”

After receiving the penalty, Perez now starts from sixth on the grid while McLaren’s Lando Norris moves up to P3, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc moves up to fourth, and Oscar Piastri starts from P5 in his home race.

There were no penalty points assessed for the incident therefore Perez remains on eight penalty points, four away from a potential one-race suspension.

Leave a Reply