Perez expects “a bit of a mess” in Friday qualifying

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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This afternoon’s qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix risks becoming a “mess” if drivers get in the way of each other while trying to get a slipstream from a car ahead, Sergio Perez has warned.

Qualifying for the Monza race two years ago descended into farce as only one of the nine drivers who attempted to set times at the end of Q3 was able to. The rest failed to reach the starting line before the chequered flag as drivers held back, unwilling to be the only one to lap without a slipstream.

Perez is concerned the situation could be repeated this year. “I think we can expect a bit of a mess going into Q3, especially with people aiming for tows and trying to be close to each other,” the Red Bull driver predicted. “I think will be quite a hectic one come Q3.”

Last year drivers were advised in the race director’s event notes that the maximum time permitted between the two Safety Car Lines would be used to judge whether anyone had driven unnecessarily slowly during qualifying. The same guidance has not been published in this weekend’s notes.

Lance Stroll, one of the three drivers reprimanded over the 2019 episode, expects the same guidance will be put in place for qualifying this afternoon.

“They’re talking about enforcing lap delta for the out-laps like they did last year, which kept us all from driving unnecessarily slowly,” he said. “That’s kind of what causes the problems when someone really backs off and tries to find a tow.

“I remember back in 2019 I think we all messed up in Q3 because someone backed up and tried to get a tow and then we missed the lap. So it’s definitely critical here but we’ll see how it plays out.”

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2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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9 comments on “Perez expects “a bit of a mess” in Friday qualifying”

  1. I might be the only one here, but I actually quite enjoyed 2019 qualifying, yes it was ridiculous and nobody came out of it looking good (except maybe Sainz, who just didn’t look as daft as everyone else), the ‘will they? – surely not? – come on guys? – seriously?’ as they pootled around the lap, I found quite suspenseful. A nice change from trying to find a tenth, to trying to find the throttle.

    1. It made them all look embarrassingly stupid on a world stage. I found it hilarious!
      Although I’d rather not see a similar farce again. Once is enough.

  2. The same guidance has not been published in this weekend’s notes.

    I presumed that this was because it was now a rules that applied everywhere, so didn’t need to be explicitly stated at the last minute?

    1. @eurobrun This rule has applied everywhere for a while, long before 2019 Monza QLF.
      1:43 is the reference for this circuit.

    2. It was added in a different form – covered here.

  3. Why do people still think this is an issue, even though the same didn’t happen last year?
    Why would this time around be any different?

    1. @jerejj as noted in the article, there were much stricter instructions from Masi last year about avoiding a repeat of that incident – the very same instructions that have now been removed from the event notes for this year.

  4. The messy hay has already been created is that, with the WDC so close, the total of 6 points in this and the next sprint races can decide the outcome of the championship. That would be so sad, to have the championship decided by this.

    1. The mess that has already been created is that, with the WDC so close, the total of 6 points in this and the next sprint races can decide the outcome of the championship. That would be so sad, to have the championship decided by this.

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