Stewards reprimand Perez over Gasly defence

Jon Wilde
Sergio Perez interview mask.

Sergio Perez has been reprimanded by the Portuguese Grand Prix stewards for a “potentially dangerous movement” in defending against Pierre Gasly.

The Mexican, after a first-lap spin when he collided with Max Verstappen, had recovered superbly from last position to be running in fifth on lap 64 of 66.

But his Racing Point was starting to struggle on soft tyres against the medium-shod runners behind and Perez was eventually passed by Gasly and Carlos Sainz to finish P7.

It was his aggressive defence when under attack from the AlphaTauri that earned the wrath of the stewards and a second reprimand of the weekend – he had also impeded Gasly during qualifying.

If a third reprimand was to occur this season, Perez would receive a 10-place grid penalty.

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The stewards’ statement explained: “At the end of the main straight, Perez moved in defence at the exact same time as Gasly, who was overtaking to the right having slipstreamed Perez down the straight. Gasly’s move was made before the braking zone and was entirely reasonable.

“As Gasly was moving to the right with significantly greater speed, Perez moved to the right and then continued to move in front of Gasly for a significant portion of the track but stopped having left a car’s width to the inside.

“The Stewards noted that earlier this year, the drivers discussed ‘late movement in reaction’ moves and agreed they were potentially very dangerous. The Stewards considered that this move was at the fastest portion of the track, but also noted Perez did not move in reaction but rather moved first or simultaneously.

“Further, he is entitled to make a single defensive move, but such a move cannot constitute a danger to another driver.

“In the hearing, both drivers agreed that while on the limit, this manoeuvre was fundamentally okay and constituted racing at the limit. The Stewards, however, believe this was too close to that limit and that Perez had not sufficiently accounted for the speed differential.

“In selecting a penalty, the Stewards have taken into account the views of the drivers involved and ordered a Reprimand (Driving).”

Although he could not hang on to fifth position, Perez was still satisfied with the outcome considering he had come off worse against Verstappen in that opening-lap tangle.

“It was an extremely busy race for me, especially after lap one,” he said. “I thought my race was lost really. We had a puncture, which made it worse, we had to box and from then on we recovered and had a tremendous first stint.

“Just at the end I died completely when I lost some temperature in the soft tyres. I couldn’t hold off Gasly and Sainz. Still, when you consider where we were after lap one it’s a good result.”

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