Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Perez “very sorry” to Leclerc after penalties for clashes

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez said he was “not happy with myself” after collecting two penalties for forcing Charles Leclerc off the track.

The Red Bull driver collected a pair of five-second time penalties after incidents between the pair at turns four and six.

“With Charles I’m very sorry because it’s not the way I like to race,” said Perez. “I’m not that type of driver that races that way.

“We were in very dirty air, on very hot tyres, very hot brakes and we were just trying to brake as late as possible. Obviously I haven’t seen the incidents but I’m very sorry if I ended up affecting his race because Charles is a driver that races very hard but always on the limit and I’m the same. So I’m not happy with myself in that and I just move on.”

Perez spoke to Leclerc after the race. “Basically I said what happened from my side,” he explained. “But obviously it’s not enough, it’s not nice when you have this type of issues but he knows from my side that I’m not that type of driver and I’m comfortable with myself.”

The Red Bull driver was also forced off the track on the third lap of the race, following the Safety Car restart, by Lando Norris. The McLaren driver was penalised for the collision.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Gallery: 2021 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures
“Basically with Norris it’s lap one, he got away with it, he didn’t have any damage,” said Perez. “But obviously next time can be very different and it’s only lap one. I felt that I was ahead and he just ran me off the circuit which wasn’t fair enough in racing.”

Norris dismissed his rival’s criticism, saying his attempt to pass him around the outside of turn four had been “stupid”.

After finishing third, the McLaren driver said he “we should have been [in] second place” but for the five-second time penalty which he served at his pit stop.

“I thought that lap one was just racing really,” said Norris. “He tried to go around the outside which is a bit stupid, and he ran off the track himself. I didn’t even push him, so I don’t know.”

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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54 comments on “Perez “very sorry” to Leclerc after penalties for clashes”

  1. I was okay with the five-second for the earlier incident with Leclerc, given I was annoyed how Norris unnecessarily took all space away from Perez, but the latter five-second was unnecessary. Leclerc should’ve backed off in that case.

    1. Not contesting the validity of the penalties though I feel none were deserved. However, I prefer the position drop penalties issued in MotoGP, mostly on the same lap, for minor infractions.

      Of course, you need time penalties for cases like Perez’s who dropped too far behind but otherwise the issue could have been easily resolved in the other instance by letting Leclerc move ahead, if the move was considered worthy of a penalty.

      Sergio nearly ended up not being penalised for the dual penalties because of having a faster car. A position gain for the affected party is much fairer in my opinion than having the race ruined behind a penalised driver.

  2. Perez wasn’t ahead against Norris though and the penalty for Norris was r i d i c u l o u s.
    His own penalties against Leclerc, by contrast, were deserved, he could have left room.

    1. False. Checo was more ahead of Norris than either Leclerc incident, this is not even up for discussion and easy to check the onboard. Still, none of the 3 incidents should have been penalties and Checo and Leclerc should have eased off.

      Reply moderated
    2. I wonder how you came about that conclusion. The Leclerc attempts were even more stupid than Perez on Lando.

      1. Going around the outside is always to be a risk but Leclerc was slightly ahead of Perez. If the rule is you have to leave room when a car is alongside, then how is it stupid to expect a rival to follow the rules?

      2. The problem is always the same: lack of consistency on penalties.

        Not the same corner, but indeed the same track and a different outcome, just 2 years ago:
        https://www.racefans.net/2019/07/02/f1-cannot-take-three-hours-to-say-no-foul/

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cV0G1zN8kJU

      3. Fun thing is you, oliver, are saying the same as david!

      4. Perez says he ‘felt’ he was ahead. He can feel whatever he likes, the fact is he wasn’t! As we’ve seen countless times, Norris had the racing line and Perez should have backed down earlier rather than going off. I admit the first Leclerc attempt was marginal but felt Perez deserved the penalty given Norris had been given one. The second seemed a clearer case of Perez forcing Leclerc off. Almost as bizarre as Tsunoda picking up two penalties for the same infringement. Altogether a bad weekend for Checo.

    3. False. Checo was more ahead of Norris than either Leclerc incident, this is not even up for discussion and easy to check the onboard. Still, none of the 3 incidents should have been penalties and Checo and Leclerc should have eased off.

      Reply moderated
    4. Sam (@undercut677)
      4th July 2021, 17:21

      False. Perez was farther ahead of Norris than Leclerc of Perez. Check the onboards.

      Reply moderated
  3. Norris successfully denied RedBull 1-2 home win by pushing Perez to gravels.

    Reply moderated
  4. You may have 1 mistake during the race, but Perez made 2 identical mistakes, just as Tsunoda (twice crossed the white line before the pitlane). The 2nd time needs a harsher penalty – 10 sec. for Perez.

    1. @bulgarian
      They were similar, but I disagree that the second time deserved anything harsher for a couple reasons:
      1) There was no contact between the cars, unlike at T4.
      2) Going into T6 isn’t a common overtaking spot, unlike T4, and even if Leclerc wasn’t pushed out at T6 it’s debatable whether he would’ve ended up ahead (see Alonso versus Russell – Alonso was side by side like Leclerc into T6 but still couldn’t pass). Whilst if Perez didn’t push Leclerc out at T4, Leclerc would’ve taken the position for sure.

      1. 1) there wasnt contact between the cars because Perez went off into the gravel while Leclerc held. Perez was more ahead of Norris than Leclerc on Checo.

        Reply moderated
      2. Sam (@undercut677)
        4th July 2021, 17:23

        Perez avoided contact because he went to the gravel. None of the incidents should have been penalties but Perez was more ahead Norris than either Leclerc incident.

        Reply moderated
      3. ^^^ This ^^^
        I fully agree with @Neutralino, I believe T4 incident deserved a penalty for Perez since there was contact. But the second penalty (T6) was uncalled for, it was Lecrec who took himself out of track limits, footage shows Perez left room.

        1. Sam (@undercut677)
          4th July 2021, 18:02

          So had Perez not gone into the gravel to avoid and instead hit Norris, it should have been a penalty. Makes no sense.

          Reply moderated
  5. Norris dismissed his rival’s criticism, saying his attempt to pass him around the outside of turn four had been “stupid”.

    Wow. Norris proved that he some issues with critical thinking, like he is a 3-year old child, not a grown up man taking responsibility for his actions.

    PS: What’s worse is that the guys on SkySports indulge this behaviour. It’s clear why – Norris is British, so no matter what he does he will be always right by British television standards. But it’s a shame that people are openly using double standards when saying anything.
    PPS: How hypocritical Perez can be… Forcing other racers off the track or participating in crashes is exactly what he does.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      4th July 2021, 16:45

      Would you like some salt for that chip on your shoulder? 🤣

      1. Fred Fedurch
        4th July 2021, 20:17

        I was thinking cheese with that whine.

    2. It’s one thing with commentators and journalists, there will always be some bias. Button ramming 4 cars off the track and gets applaud in the media. Leclerc doing similar and gets outrage.
      But it’s the other thing when it’s the stewards who make biased decisions. Yuki Tsunoda goes with one wheel over the white line at the pit-entry and recieves penalties. Lewis Hamilton crossing the whole track including entry line at a 90° angle during 2019 German GP and it doesn’t even cosidered worthy of being investigated.

      1. Yuki Tsunoda goes with one wheel over the white line at the pit-entry and recieves penalties. Lewis Hamilton crossing the whole track including entry line at a 90° angle during 2019 German GP and it doesn’t even cosidered worthy of being investigated.

        I can’t make sense of that last decision, even after two years have passed

    3. I want to like NOR but can’t quite get there.
      He’s a very good driver but he is too cocky for me – much like Max only the latter seems to have matured a bit more.
      NOR belittled his teammate telling the media SAI adapts better to different cars than RIC. Whether that is true or not, there is no need to express it to others, especially the press.

    4. @Sviat Agree the hypocrisy is seriously grating. Hopefully this will see a new Perez.

  6. The first incident between Checo and Charles was a clear penalty and he was lucky to only get 5 seconds for that, because he deliberately turned in on Leclerc (probably caused by frustration after the previous incident with Lando).
    The second one should’ve been declared a racing incident, because there isn’t enough space with these wide F1 cars to overtake in T6, even if Charles was already alongside him. Maybe they could remove a little bit of gravel on the exit of T6 (just half a meter or so), because it might help the racing there.

    It’s a little bit ironic, isn’t it?! After Leclerc destroyed the race of an Alpha Tauri a week ago on lap 1, his race got destroyed by a RB driver and then he nearly got overtaken on the final lap by the same guy whose race he destroyed (Gasly’s) last week. Bizarre!

  7. Shows the difference in the calibre of the drivers. Perez being a calm gentleman who’s had to fight tooth and nail to find his way into a top car. Where as Norris is just a spoilt rich kid who thinks he’s the king just because of a couple of teenagers can’t stop grinning over him on social media

    1. In the context of all that happened today, how’s your comment relevant @fish123?

      1. Relevant because Norris ruined Perezs race and he didn’t even seem to care enough to say sorry atleast. Where as even though Perez pushing Leclerc off didn’t damage his race so much he still apologised

        1. @fish123 @rockgod So obvious I dont know why you even bothered to explain it

    2. Perez being a calm gentleman who’s had to fight tooth and nail to find his way into a top car.

      Sure, Carlos Slim’s money never helped Pérez career.
      And as noted by @rockgod : « In the context of all that happened today, how’s your comment relevant @fish123? »

      1. Yes Perez had backing but he still had to secure the backing as a teenager and has had to maintain right throughout. Having a rich father is much easier than backing

  8. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    4th July 2021, 16:46

    I got to admit Russell & Alonso’s battles through those same corners seemed a lot fairer and respectful to one another than Perez/Norris/Leclerc’s did.

    1. Alonso simply respected the “don’t go round the outside unless you are certain you have the momentum.” rule. He Alonso was in a similar situation to both Perez(Lando) and Leclerc(Perez), coming from behind with a bit more momentum.

  9. Im totally with Perez here. Leclerc has his fair share of incidents too and gets away with it, forget last week? As with the Norris situation, Lando was a bit cheeky on this move, he didnt leave any room. But probably closer to a proper race incident.

    Move on people.

    1. As an American I have noticed the European bias for years. When it involves a Brit those guys get so wet for their countrymen that it is absolutely like seeing my teenage daughter going nuts for BTS (for non dads out there a Korean boy band) Perez should have waited a bit to pass Norris he may have been a bit overzealous with the 200 race hype. Plenty races left to get over it.

      1. Yeap, it is not secret that there is enormous bias towards Brits (and European in general) drivers over the non (as Perez). As an American too, this bothers me. Everything Lando and George do gets totally overblown, cannot stand the lack of objectivity.

    2. I think after the stewards gave Lando the penalty they almost had to give the same to Perez just for consistency as the moves were so similar.

    3. Were you with Hamilton as well when he hit Albon? Just checking!

    4. Davethechicken
      4th July 2021, 20:27

      Macrob, I thought it was fairly brainless by Perez. To force Leclerc off at T4, after the almost identical incident resulted in a penalty for Norris, is simply baffling!

      Reply moderated
    5. Kimi vs Alonso = Perez vs Norris vs Leclerc

      I think Norris, Perez and Leclerc should learn from Alonso.

      On the first incident at T4, Norris was on the same track position as Alonso… and we know how that ended. In a way it validates your “cheeky” statement about Norris.

      On the first Perez vs Leclerc incident at T4, Perez was on the same track position as Alonso..and we know how that ended, which validates the deserved penalty (IMHO)

      On the second Perez vs Leclerc incident at T5, Leclerc was on the same track position as Alonso… and we know how that ended.

      Perez vs Norris similarity to Kimi’s vs Alonso on T4 is amazing, which somehow validates what Perez was trying to achieve. And later on Perez was also on the same line that Kimi took on T5 when defending from Alonso who was on the outside same as Leclerc, two different outcomes.

      More than License Points and on track time penalties it comes down to respect between drivers. Clearly Kimi and Alonso come from a generation where respect and hard racing go hand to hand. The newer generation still thinks that they are racing online and giving interviews on twitch… sigh.

  10. ‘It’s not the way I like to race.’ Yet he does it twice in one session, even after being on the receiving end of this awful ‘racing’. Pérez should know better. He’s no longer racing in the midfield, at a top team like Red Bull he needs to be above these antics and not finish behind both Mercedes in a race where his teammate is utterly dominating proceedings.

    1. Yes, I’d say he first of all took too much risk with norris, who could’ve been (and was) a powerful ally by being between red bull and mercedes, he risked to open the way to both mercedes, he got away once or twice, then ended up outside the track, and it’s only for that reason that we’re even talking about a fight with leclerc.

      1. Yeah, I can see how Perez being frustrated by his misjudged move on Norris (which ultimately gave Mercedes a p2 finish because of the penalty for Norris) and where he ended up in the field, got him riled up and driving a bit more “in anger” had a part in making him drive quite roughshod in those occasions.

        Without that incident Perez would have likely finished 2nd behind Max in time.

  11. Charles fumed as much as he could.

  12. At least Perez could see he would’ve been a hypocrite to defend those moves. I don’t know why he wasn’t more careful after Norris was penalized for doing the same thing to him. He was seemed a bit desperate after losing so much on lap 1.

    1. Agree, Perez is a solid guy.

      Reply moderated
  13. Never thought I’d say this, but finally happy with the stewards for once. All penalties were good and proper. Let’s have back outside passing. The culture where one thinks it’s fine to push someone off the track is completely off the mark. I don’t even know where it came from.

    The only thing the stewards did wrong, was wait too long before investigating the first incident. 15 laps or something is just silly.

  14. Leclerc is an incredible driver, he is not only an ultra fast hot lapper but also as good as max in race trim, especially when attacking and defending a position.

    Reply moderated
  15. Perez is a danger on the track.

    1. Hello, is that you Ocon? welcome to the forum.
      What’s next? are you going to say that he tried to kill Lecrec? SMH…

      1. We don’t need to use that word!

  16. The bias aside, it is the responsibility of the driver behind to complete the overtake. Beside is NOT ahead! Why should the driver ahead have to relinquish the racing line if the driver behind hasn’t clearly established he is ahead? Checo was ahead for a fraction of a second because he braked too late. He would not have made the corner if he was the only car on the track. We’ve all driven the A1 ring on Sims and that corner at speed causes understeer and thusly takes you out onto the curbs. So why should Lando compromise his line to a car that had late braked and had at best come along side and for the most part was behind through the turn? The gravel is there to ensure that if you are too bold you pay the price. Checo paid the price. He is also a massive hypocrite and it was STUPID!

    Reply moderated
    1. Wow.. I was nodding in full agreement with your comment all the way to “Perez paid the price” until I read the last line… what a sad and oh well…. STUPID way to destroy an otherwise good post. So I guess based on your “biased aside” comment Lecrec is a hypocrite and it was STUPID! to try to pass Perez on the same corner?
      ….
      Here, let me leave this beauty of video so you can learn from Kimi and Alonso how when two good drivers race each other passing on such corner is possible. Sadly, none of the 3 drivers involved last Sunday have the respect that Kimi and Alonso pay each other.
      ..
      Watch and learn

      PS: If link doesn’t work look it up on F1’s official twitter account, Kimi vs Alonso, it happened on the same race, same day, same corner.

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