Red Bull’s Sergio Perez could be set for a grid drop ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix after venturing off the circuit in the second qualifying session.
Perez had been struggling in Q2, initially setting a lap good enough for P9, before this was deleted, and he was pushed back down to 11th.
This put pressure on the Mexican to progress to Q3 on his final run, and he came up with a lap that put him sixth fastest, pushing AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly out of qualifying.
The Frenchman might feel a little hard done by though, because multiple drivers had laps deleted over the course of the day – in practice and in the Formula 2 and 3 sessions – as the pecking order was continually shuffled by race control.
At the end of his Q2 run though, Perez ran wide through Turn Seven, and had all four wheels off the circuit going into the second part of the chicane at Turn Eight.
However, the stewards had a lot to look at throughout qualifying, including Alex Albon’s late lap that was taken away from him for going off the circuit.
They were also busy with Lando Norris and Yuki Tsunoda as they went off the racetrack on their runs, so they did not notice the Red Bull driver leaving the circuit.
They officially noted the incident just as Q3 was about to get underway, but the Q2 results had already been classified, and Gasly was out of his car, so it was too late for them to take any action.
It therefore means that the 32-year-old may potentially pick up a penalty and, if he does not, it will surely cause quite the controversy in the paddock.
Perez eventually qualified fourth as Max Verstappen snatched pole with a fantastic late run to beat the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
Both Mercedes cars of Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell crashed in Q3 as they qualified P10 and P5 respectively.
The stewards are now investigating the incident involving Perez in Q2.