Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Perez criticises “very unfair” penalty for failing to let Hamilton past

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez criticised the five-second time penalty he was given for failing to respond to blue flags when Lewis Hamilton was lapping him in the Spanish Grand Prix.

“I don’t understand where I should have moved,” said Perez. “Hamilton caught me very late in the lap and then the final sector is very tight, very narrow.

“So I didn’t have anywhere, it would have been very unsafe for me to do something there. Still I got a penalty which I feel was very unfair, but it’s how it is.”

The Racing Point driver and AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat were given the same penalty during the race for being slow to respond when they were lapped. Both were also given a penalty point each on their licences – Perez his first during the current 12-month period, Kvyat his fourth.

The stewards said Perez and Kvyat both “ignored blue flags from at least turn six to turn one of the following lap”.

Antonio Giovinazzi was also investigated for an incident involving Romain Grosjean. The stewards took no action against the Alfa Romeo driver after ruling he didn’t illegitimately force Grosjean off the track.

After reviewing video footage the stewards ruled “Giovinazzi had substantially completed the overtake on the inside at turn one and had the right to the line. Grosjean avoided a collision by going off track and correctly followed the race director’s instructions rejoining at turn three. Neither driver was predominantly at fault.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “Perez criticises “very unfair” penalty for failing to let Hamilton past”

  1. I actually think Perez has a point there.

    1. You mean Penalty Point? Sure

    2. I only saw they overtake on the start finish straight. That seemed fine to me. I’m not sure if there was any impeding before that.

      1. After the race he mentioned on TV that the first time Lewis was behind him (but according to him quite far behind) was by turn 9, it would have not been viable to let him past there, so he kept going and let Lewis pass on the straight.

        On the other hand, as Rosberg pointed out (and Herbert agreed with), that does mean that Perez had 5 corners to find a way to let Lewis go bye.

      2. “ignored blue flags from at least turn six to turn one of the following lap”

        That seems a lot of corners to me than simply a straight which was the only thing shown…

        1. That bit was added later I think.
          Agree that that is a lot.

        2. Thanks for that @bascb and @mysticus, like @coldfly, I too only got the replay of the lapping itself, which didn’t give any indication of an issue, so that made it very hard to judge.

          While the track is hard to overtake on, turns six to end of the lap seems to be hard to argue there wasn’t a way to let Hamilton past before indeed, just as others (well Grosjean with some difficulty I guess) were able to somehow, and while turn 9 is indeed a few turns later, that’s still T10-16 to go, so I am sort of inclined to think that maybe Perez stretched it a bit far with that excuse.

          1. in the closing stages, ham lapped vettel again, 2/3 laps before the end, and vettel slowed down to let him by… which actually cost him i believe 1.8 sec maybe cost him a position too.. He could back off and give way, but i think perez knew people were catching up to him due to his degrading tyres on 1 stopper… he willfully ignored in case it would be ignored… the blue flag cost lead drivers esp on tight strategies cause headache… i remember one in singapore ham lost 5-6 sec due to lapped cars racing each other and not giving an inch to lapping/leading cars in fear of loosing their own positions…
            similarly when vet was in rb still a US gp lost (most likely) due to a lapped car not getting out of the way on time, causing vet to loose time unnecessarily and allowing ham to catch up and overtake him on the right spot!

            although it is not the same situation for leaders today, it is still very annoying for lead drivers to wait for slow cars…

    3. I actually think Perez has a racing point there.

      (I’ll show myself out.)

    4. @bascb There is no way to let a driver past all the way from turn six all the way to turn one the next lap?

      1. Where did I mention turn 6 @f1osaurus? In the show I watched on TV, he mentioned turn 9, although even that, as Rosberg mentioned, is still 5 turns.

        1. @bascb Well you didn’t, but Perez was holding up Hamilton from turn 6. That’s why he got the penalty.

          It can help to read the stewards verdict rather than only rely on the driver testimony.

          Besides, turn 10, 13, 14 and 15 are all good places to let a car past and they were all after turn 9 too.

    5. Blue flags are all about equality

  2. I did not think he did anything wrong either. Hamilton was bearing down on a long straight, why would it make sense for Perez to suddenly move well off the racing line when Hamilton could commit to an overtake at the same time.

    He just went slightly off the racing line against the track edge to clearly let Hamilton pass easily.

    1. @mach1 That isn’t the stewards’ point though – they said he should have done it well before the straight.

      1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        16th August 2020, 16:46

        Compared to some of the blue flag warnings and drivers not letting leaders past that we have seen this year and previous years is almost a joke that Perez was given a 5 second penalty there. Racing Point is being treated as the school yard bully at the moment in my humbled opinion because of the dilemma they find themselves in.

        1. @canadianjosh

          Racing Point is being treated as the school yard bully at the moment in my humbled opinion because of the dilemma they find themselves in.

          Kvyat also got a penalty.

        2. Surely a black and white flag for a one and only warning should have been given in both cases.

          In neither instance did an extra half a lap have any impact on the overtaking driver who was miles ahead of everyone else.

          Seems like a box ticking exercise to me, just to try add something to an otherwise dull procession.

      2. @keithcollantine But is there a replay of Hamilton ‘flashing the lights’ at Perez? The confusion on this penalty stems from the awful (again) TV directing.

    2. I think he was given blue flags through the majority of sector 3 of the previous lap as well according to Rosberg.

  3. I remember seeing a few drivers pull to the side in the final chicane to let the leaders pass. Perez could have done that an perhaps benefited from Hamilton’s tow down the front straight.

    1. I think they (e.g. Vettel) only did that to get the benefit of DRS.
      At least Perez was kind enough to ’give’ the DRS to Lewis.

  4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    16th August 2020, 16:50

    I also thought Perez had a chance to do it earlier on the main straight – or before that. He wasn’t fighting other drivers right there and then. But he continued to flaw it and it could well have been that lot of blue flags that got him the penalty. The track wasn’t “tight” on the final 2 corners. I think it was pretty clear why he got it really.

  5. Unfair indeed. He slowed down massively on the S/F straight waiting for LH to pass him, and still.

    1. @jerejj The point is that he shouldn’t have kept Hamilton behind for more than half a lap. That he lost time in the end just adds to how dumb this all was from Perez.

  6. Staying on the theme of unfair it will be very interesting how Racing Point will treat Perez now that the Golden Boy is above him in the championship. Agreed he had missed a couple of races due to unfortunate circumstances but it will certainly be something to watch out.

    1. Stroll is indeed very strong this year; not sure though if he already deserves the accolade ‘Golden Boy’.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      16th August 2020, 18:51

      if we take 10 points off Stroll for the two British races, he would only be 2 points behind Perez in the standings. Also note that Stroll retired in the first race. While he wasn’t as strong as Perez there, 8th or higher will have been entirely possible, so that was at least 4 points missed. Stroll admittedly should have 2 points removed because of Styria and his aggressive move on Ricciardo due to his missed 5 second penalty – but still, that would leave them both with 32 points. Stroll has easily been as good as Perez this season, which is quite an achievement I think. Many thought his good starts at Williams were due to him qualifying near the back behind poor cars. He has continued to show very good starts now he’s doing a better job in qualifying in a better team. He’s still not a great qualifier, but his starts sort of make up for this. Given the funding him and his father bring to the team, I think he deserves his seat now.

      1. I actually agree with you. I’m quite impressed by his performances this year – he is no slouch for sure.

  7. I think if questionable defendi

    1. I think if a warning can be given for questionable defending then a warning is fair for blue flags. A blue flag infringement might be annoying, but it isn’t a big safety issue.

      1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
        16th August 2020, 17:38

        I agree with you. It’s not like he came in between a battle for position (bottas vs max). Just the race leader cruising 10 sec down the road, a black and white flag would have sufficed

      2. @slotopen
        I fully agree. A black and white warning flag would be perfectly logical here.

  8. Another joke. Those stewards are a joke. Perez did not nothing wrong. Poor formula 1 it is in hands of jokers.

    1. @jorge-lardone Perez should not keep cars behind for more than half a lap when he’s being lapped. Other drivers manage to do this correctly.

  9. I think the blue flag is exaggerated this days. I’m pretty sure there’s a middle point between a car blocking other for seven laps as it was in the 90s and this “I’m just five seconds behind, get out of the way now!”
    I think blue flags should only be there when the driver behind is at least in DRS zone.

    One of the merits in today’s races is how it shows the fights for the secondary positions, it’s weird how much those drivers have to almost stop to give pass to leaders. This was particularly relevant in Vettel case. he had a stable 3s advantage over Stroll and that went to less than a second after having to let Hamilton pass in the middle of the circuit

  10. The stewards said he ignored the flags from turn 6 to turn 1, before finally “letting” Hamilton by into turn one, forcing him to make a racing pass into T1 as though it were for position. How do you all think this is an unfair penalty?

    1. Probably by not reading the actual verdict and solely going by Perez’ fib that there was no place to let Hamilton past.

  11. The presenters on RTL Germany were very unfair to Albon. Claiming that he would surely hold back Hamilton to help Verstappen. Albon actually reduced speed and let Hamilton past in a very professional way.

    While Perez couldn’t find a place for this all the way from turn 6? How about at turn 10, 13, 14 or 15?

    Perez just didn’t feel like losing any time himself, which is what then lands him a penalty.

  12. We hear how penalties should match the offense relative to the outcome, so if the late let-by didn’t affect anybody’s position or gap, then 5 seconds doesn’t fit, when other more serious offenses affecting outcomes have the exact same penalty. Especially in such a case were being let by on a twisty bit could cause the lapper to lose the same or even less time as he would when getting a tow on the next straight.

    Anyway, consistency is the name of the game. Look for example how false start penalties are hardly seen anymore, after every start became properly monitored and penalties completely predictable and equal.

  13. What a poor penalty.

    Backmarkers should stay on the racing line and not defend the position. That is it. If you can lap someone andvnot overtake, no problem.

    Fix rules please.

  14. I would think the blue flags came earlier and not on turn 9. What I don’t know is how close was Hamilton to Perez, one thing is to let pass and another is to brake for the leader to catch up and pass.
    I didn’t hear any complain from Hamilton re Perez impeding.

    I am glad Perez looked for the safety of both drivers, had he slowed more it could have happened a Flying Webber 2.0, an Alonso Flight to the runoff 2.0 (Gutierrez slowed) or… and I am actually surprised how critical is Rosberh of Perez when Rosberg himself ended up flying at the back of a slowing Karthakean (Abu Dhabi).

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