Sergio Perez’s suspicion as FIA hit him with triple Qatar GP penalty

Thomas Maher
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez makes a pitstop during the Qatar Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez makes a pitstop during the Qatar Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez picked up three separate five-second time penalties in Qatar, and has a suspicion as to why he fell foul of the rules.

Perez was classified in 10th place at the chequered flag in Lusail, having picked up three separate five-second time penalties during the race for exceeding track limits – one of which was added to his final race time.

Having served a five-second penalty at two of his pit-stops, a total of six off-track moments resulted in a total time loss of 15 seconds over the 57-lap race.

Sergio Perez explains tough race in Qatar

Having started the race from the pitlane due to a breach of parc ferme regulations as Red Bull changed components in his power unit following his Sprint race collision and retirement, Perez started the race on the hard tyre but couldn’t capitalise on it in the first stint due to the mandatory stint lengths being enforced by the FIA.

“The hard really complicated things for us, especially with the Safety Car,” he explained to Sky F1 afterward.

“We couldn’t warm up the tyre, and then we ended up losing positions.

“We couldn’t make progress quickly enough. That just meant that we were just not able to progress as much as we should.”

Having got stuck behind Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu in the first stint – a car that would usually be easy pickings for a Red Bull – Perez bemoaned the difficulty of getting the grip out of the hard tyre.

“Yeah, I just couldn’t get the temperature in the tyre,” he said.

“We started the race and then the Safety Car for three laps and then, by the time I got through we had to stop. So it wasn’t an ideal race.”

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Sergio Perez reflects on track limits violations

Having been one of the most penalised drivers in the race, along with Alpine’s Pierre Gasly on three penalties apiece, Perez put forward the theory that his seating position in the RB19 played a part in why he found it so difficult to get through the race without crossing the white lines.

“It was a very difficult one,” he said.

“But not just the race, the whole weekend in all is something we need to look at.

“The track limits, to be honest, it was really hard for me inside the car to judge them. But it was the same for everybody. So I should have done a better job than what I did.

“I had a little bit of the same in Austria, I am sitting a little bit too low in the car and it made things a little harder. When they changed things last minute, I should’ve gone up.”

With teammate Max Verstappen not breaching track limits once in the other RB19, Perez’s transgressions were called out by his race engineer Hugh Bird who said “these are hurting our race”, while a basic adjustment of his race time would have netted Perez around eighth place, rather than 10th.

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