Sergio Perez criticises FIA for handling of track limits violation

Sergio Perez will start the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race in P13 after being penalised in qualifying.

Sergio Perez was disappointed to learn that he had been stripped of P4 after qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix for a track limits violation in the second qualifying session.

The Mexican had seen one of his runs in Q2 deleted already, and his best lap as a result was only good enough for P13.

He headed back out onto the circuit at the end of Q2 to set another time, and that one got him into the top 10 shootout.

However, it was not until the third and final session was about to start that the stewards noticed that the 32-year-old had left the track at Turn Eight, so they had to investigate him after qualifying.

READ: Sergio Perez claims Red Bull upgrades are favouring Max Verstappen

Perez ended up in fourth, but race control eventually deemed that he had exceeded track limits on his final attempt in the second session, so they deleted his final run in Q2 as well as all of his Q3 attempts, so he will start the sprint race 13th.

The Red Bull driver wishes he had been told of his indiscretion before he crossed the finish line in Q2 so that he could have another go.

“It is disappointing to lose fourth place, track limits are very tight here this season, and it is frustrating the team weren’t told my lap time had been deleted during Q2,” he said.

READ: Fernando Alonso ‘confused’ by lack of penalty for Sergio Perez

Article continues below

“We have the sprint to make up ground and a long race ahead, we have to keep our head down and push hard to make progress and put us in a good position for Sunday.”

Team principal Christian Horner shared the same sentiment as his driver, and hopes that he can recover back into a competitive position for Sunday’s main event.

“We feel the penalty for Checo was very harsh and should have been dealt with before Q3 to enable us to improve subsequent performance,” said the 48-year-old.

“He will do his best tomorrow from P13 and try and put us in a better position for Sunday’s race.”

Team-mate Max Verstappen enjoyed better fortunes on Friday evening, taking P1 with a stunning late lap to beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.