Sergio Pérez was frustratingly close to a podium finish at the Italian Grand Prix, had it not been for a five-second penalty at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
The Mexican who started the race in eighth battled hard throughout, the Red Bull Racing driver made great progress early on and benefited massively from Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen taking each other out.
Pérez quickly found himself in the top five and in with a real chance of a podium finish, as the safety car period for the title rivals crash came to a close. Then the talking point struck for Pérez, the Mexican overtook Charles Leclerc for third place at turn five but was deemed to have gained an unfair advantage on the Ferrari driver. Pérez ran off the circuit and over the kerbs at turn five to get the pass done, in what was clearly an illegal overtake.
Pérez failed to give back the position and was therefore awarded a five-second time penalty, which when added to his finish time demoted him from third to fifth. The Mexican was disappointed with the penalty and believed that he was ahead of Leclerc, Pérez also congratulated his former-team the Mclaren F1 Team on their victory,
“It was a very eventful race and a real shame to miss out on the podium. With the penalty, I think we hoped for a wider view in the sense that it was my corner and I was ahead of Charles, but it is what it is and we tried to recover. From our side we did the best possible race we could as a Team but overtaking was impossible today and it was really difficult to keep ahead of the cars behind.
“McLaren were really quick and difficult to beat, they’ve been solid this weekend and especially on the straights they were hard to follow. They had very strong traction so at no point could I be a threat to them, but as a Team this wasn’t our track, we weren’t so strong here so now we move on and look forward to Russia. There is still a long way to go in this championship.”