Sergio Perez penalised with Australian GP grid drop for Nico Hulkenberg block

Sergio Perez will drop three places on the grid at the F1 Australian Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne,
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3,…

Sergio Perez has been hit with a three-place grid penalty for the F1 Australian Grand Prix after blocking Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying. 

The Red Bull driver was found to have “unnecessarily impeded” Hulkenberg’s Haas during Q1, with the Melbourne stewards opting to hand out a three-place grid drop to be “consistent with previous cases”.

Perez had qualified third behind Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

But the Mexican will now start Sunday’s grand prix from sixth, with Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri all moving up one place respectively.

The stewards’ verdict in full

The Stewards heard from the driver of Car ​11 (Sergio Perez), the driver of Car ​27 (Nico Hulkenberg), team representatives and reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, telemetry, team radio and in-car video evidence.

Hulkenberg was on a fast lap when he approached turn 13. 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. Hulkenberg was forced to lift the throttle early and brake early for that corner.

In reviewing the audio from Perez’ 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.

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