Sergio Pérez says he does not understand why the stewards handed him a five-second time penalty during the French Grand Prix, a penalty he feels cost him the chance of scoring points.
The Racing Point F1 Team racer followed the rule book by going around the bollard after running off track at turn three, only for the stewards to deem he had still gained an advantage by going off in the first place.
Going into the turn he was behind both Kevin Magnussen and Alexander Albon, but came out in front of them despite going around the bollard as instructed to do, with Pérez admitting he does not know whether he gained an advantage or not as it was lap one and everyone was bunched up.
“I don’t understand why I was penalised,” admitted Pérez. “I have to look at it properly, but I did what I’m supposed to do, which was to go around the bollards.
“The rule is that you have to come back on the track as soon as you go through the bollards, which is what I did. I think what they did is wrong, because I stuck to the rules. Whether or not I gained an advantage, for me it was impossible to judge – it was lap one and there were so many cars around.
“It’s supposed to be slower than the racing line so that you don’t gain an advantage, but if it isn’t it’s not my fault.”
Formula 1 race director Michael Masi explained the reason behind the penalty and says he is not sure to why Pérez was confused or upset by being adjudged to have gained an advantage by running off track.
“The overriding point is that when someone rejoins, they must first rejoin safely and two must not gain a lasting advantage,” said Masi to Motorsport.com.
“In looking at the in-car [footage] 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 has come out in front of [Alex] Albon and [Kevin] Magnussen.
“That was part of a discussion that was actually had following Monaco at a drivers’ meeting, where the drivers requested that they need to be behind effectively who they entered [the corner behind].”
Pérez felt the penalty did ultimately cost him a shot at the points with the Mexican finishing down in twelfth, although he acknowledges the team need to focus on the qualifying performances as both he and team-mate Lance Stroll are often needing big races just to break into the top ten.
“The penalty really hurt my race,” said the Mexican. “We had the possibility to score some points today but this ruined it. We were a lot closer in terms of race pace, so that was promising.
“At the moment we are still struggling in qualifying and that’s where we must focus our attention to see what we can do better next week. Hopefully we can get back into the points in Austria.”