Both Sergio Perez and Brendon Hartley were handed post-race thirty-second time penalties for offences on the formation lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The issue arose when Perez passed Hartley at the start of the formation lap, but the New Zealander failed to reclaim the position before the first safety car line, as is dictated in the rulebook.
Stewards deemed that Hartley should have started in the pit lane because of his failure to resume his starting position of eleventh on the grid, but also deemed that Perez made no effort to recover the position, so both the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda and Sahara Force India F1 Team drivers were similarly penalised.
“The Stewards reviewed video evidence and heard from Sergio Perez, the driver of car 11 and the team representative,” read the FIA statement about Perez.
“Car 11 overtook car 28 before turn 1 and then during the remainder of the formation lap made no noticeable effort to allow car 28 to regain his position.
“The driver of car 11 also admitted the driver of car 28 was not unduly delayed when leaving the grid to start the formation lap.
“In this case the Stewards decided to not award penalty points as the penalty is the sufficient.”
“The Stewards reviewed video evidence and heard from Brendon Hartley, the driver of car 28 and the team representative,” read the FIA statement about Hartley.
“Car 28 was overtaken by car 11 during the formation lap, failed to re-establish his position before the first safety car line and then did not enter the pits as required under Article 38.3.”
Hartley was also given two penalty points on his Superlicence, meaning he has a total of four to his name across the past twelve months, while the two penalties drop the duo from twelfth and thirteenth down to sixteenth and seventeenth respectively.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting revealed a lack of understanding from Hartley of what he was meant to do caused the double issue.
“I haven’t heard what Perez and Hartley have had to say yet, but Hartley didn’t actually know what he had to do,” Whiting is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “On the one hand, yes, Perez did overtake, but that’s fairly normal because not all cars leave the grid in the order of the grid.
“The rule is written primarily for cars last away from the grid, but he can make his way back through the field, as long as he’s got back to his original position – like [Daniil] Kvyat in Canada last year.
“As long as he’s done that, he can start from the grid. If not, he has to start from the pits. Hartley didn’t [start from the pits], but he [also]didn’t actually try and get back [into position]. This is the slightly odd thing.”