Sergio Perez was left frustrated after receiving a time penalty for exceeding track limits on the opening lap of the French Grand Prix despite appearing to stick to the rules set out by race officials at Paul Ricard.

Perez went off-track at Turn 3 on the first lap, prompting him to follow the new escape route set in place by race control ahead of the weekend to feed him back onto the track at Turn 5 and prevent him from gaining an advantage.

However, Perez managed to jump both Alexander Albon and Kevin Magnussen by taking the escape route, with the stewards subsequently handing him a five-second time penalty for gaining an advantage. The Racing Point driver finished the race 13th.

“I just did what I was supposed to do, to go around the bollard, to make sure that you respect track limits. But I still got the penalty,” Perez said.

“I don’t know what their view is, because it’s been very clear the rule, you have to go around the bollard, and as long as you are behind the bollard, you are complying with the rules.

“Just make the chicane slower to make sure, because apparently if you go there, you are meant to lose a lot of time. But obviously it’s Lap 1, so I think it was wrong what we had. That hurt me a bit.

“Today I got a penalty because of following the rules.”

While FIA race director Michael Masi said the procedure at Turn 5 was open to review, it was evident that Perez had gained a lasting advantage.

“When someone rejoins, they must firstly rejoin safely, and they must not gain a lasting advantage,” Masi said.

“Looking at the in-car particularly, when you look at Lance [Stroll’s], who was immediately behind him, Sergio’s locked up, chosen to go to the left, and bypass the bollard, and come out in front of both Albon and Magnussen.

“That was part of a discussion that was actually had following Monaco at a drivers’ meeting where the drivers actually requested that they need to be behind, effectively, who they entered.

“Is it something that will be reviewed? Absolutely. There was the Turn 1/2 going off setup, which was new for this year, as was the setup in the run-off between Turn 3 and Turn 5. It’s not an exact science, it’s trial and error.

“But the recommendation was pretty straightforward, when you go in behind two cars and come out in front of them.”

Perez was also frustrated that he was not told by race control to give the positions back, but Masi explained this was following a request by drivers not to do so unless an incident took place at Turn 1.

“We’ve actually discussed this with the drivers at a drivers’ meeting, and they actually agreed that the line should be drawn,” Masi said.

“Here, if it would be a Turn 1-2 scenario, we would do that type of instruction. It was an open discussion with them in Canada I think it was. They all said you need to draw the line somewhere, and once we sort of get out of that sequence, it is what it is, we’ll live with the decision.”

Masi also confirmed there had been no query to race control from Racing Point about whether Perez should hand the places back.



Loading Comments...