Perez ‘desperately unlucky’ to be penalised – Horner

Date published: September 13 2021 - Jon Wilde

Sergio Perez's Red Bull during the Italian GP. Monza September 2021.

Christian Horner felt Sergio Perez was “desperately unlucky” to receive a podium-denying time penalty for an illegal overtake at Monza.

The Red Bull driver finished third on the road in the Italian Grand Prix behind McLaren duo Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris – with his team-mate Max Verstappen’s car in the kitty litter at the opening chicane following a collision with Lewis Hamilton.

Perez, therefore, earned Red Bull their only points of the race, but it was 10 rather than 15 because he was demoted from third to fifth position due to a five-second penalty incurred for passing Charles Leclerc off the track.

The move occurred at the second chicane and the Mexican did not give the place back, which meant he was eventually classified below Valtteri Bottas and Leclerc who finished third and fourth respectively.

Horner, the Red Bull team principal, said they had let the situation play out because no message had been received from race director Michael Masi warning that Perez was in danger of being sanctioned.

“With Checo, he was desperately unlucky and we felt it was very marginal given there was no instruction from the race office to give the position back,” Horner told reporters.

“We had to make a decision whether or not to get on with the race, so we got our heads down and then Checo was given the penalty.

“He drove some strong laps under intense pressure but was unable to open up a gap, and so we were sad to finish third on the road but fifth overall with only one car scoring points.”

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With Perez falling behind Bottas in the classification, it meant Red Bull now trail Mercedes by 18 points in the Constructors’ World Championship.

Perez thought the decision was harsh given he had taken avoiding action to ensure he did not make contact with Leclerc.

“We were, as a team, hoping to have a bit of a wider view from the stewards,” said the 31-year-old.

“The way I see it, if I [had] tried to make the corner we would have had contact, so I basically avoided contact.

“I had nowhere to go. It was my corner so I really had to go and avoid it. In the end, we took the decision to just carry on and we were expecting a bit of that.

“Unfortunately, we got the podium on track but lost it due to other reasons.”

 

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