FIA questioned for not ‘applying the rules as they are in the rule book’

Sergio Perez eventually kept his win in Singapore on Sunday.

Former Formula 1 driver, Timo Glock, has questioned the length of time it took for the stewards to decide that Sergio Perez could keep him win in Singapore last weekend.

The Mexican started second behind Charles Leclerc under the lights but, in wet conditions, he stormed into the lead at Turn One, and held his advantage for the entirety of the race.

Perez negotiated two Safety Car restarts at Marina Bay, during one of which he came under scrutiny.

The 32-year-old appeared to fall over 10 car lengths behind the Mercedes road car, before picking up the pace.

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It looked as though Perez had gone for the restart, but he caught back up to the Safety Car again, so slowed down to allow Bernd Maylander to come back into the pits.

The stewards began an investigation, but quickly stated that they would examine the incident after the session, clearly noticing something that needed a more thorough look.

They called Perez to the office after the session and handed him a five-second penalty, a reprimand, and two points on his license.

He kept the win though, because he had beaten Leclerc to the post by 7.5 seconds.

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Race control were already under the microscope after delaying the start of the race by over an hour, by which time the extreme Wets were no longer needed, and the drivers began proceedings on Intermediates.

Glock feels that Perez, on another day, might have earned an even harsher penalty for his etiquette on both restarts.

“Sergio Perez drove a fantastic race and deservedly won in Singapore, however his victory was in question for a long time due to the stewards’ investigation,” he explained in his column for Sky Germany.

“On the TV it looked as if he had dropped back from the Safety Car by more than ten car lengths during both Safety Car periods. 

“In the case of a possible offence, however, it was probably borderline and the stewards turned a blind eye.

“Of course you can now talk about why these rules actually exist and why they are not applied as they are in the rule book.”

The German also sees no reason why it needed to take so long for the stewards to reach an agreement as to how severe the penalty should be and, ultimately, who would be declared the winner.

“But only the stewards know that and why it took them more than two hours to make a decision,” added Glock.

“It is certain that all explanations were listened to and discussed extensively. Perhaps they also had other pictures from the Safety Car or saw that Perez was just a few seconds more than ten car lengths behind. That’s difficult to judge.”

Perez’s team-mate, Max Verstappen, eventually kept his win at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix after he was investigated for his move on Leclerc late on in the race.

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He had podiums taken away from him in Mexico in 2016, and again in Austin in 2017 having gained an advantage by leaving the racetrack in both of those races.

The Dutchman finished seventh in Singapore after a tough race last weekend, but his second world title is still very much within his grasp.

A haul of 26 points this weekend in Suzuka guarantees the reigning champion a successful defence of his crown.