Sergio Perez believes that race control is partly responsible for him losing third place to George Russell in the closing stages of the French Grand Prix.
Perez was passed off the start of the race by Sir Lewis Hamilton, and fell back from the seven-time champion as Mercedes’ race pace shone through again.
He started to fall back into the clutches of George Russell, and the pair made contact at Turn Eight as the 24-year-old tried to take advantage of Carlos Sainz’s move on the Mexican.
Sainz was forced to pit due to tyre degradation and a penalty, leaving Perez and Russell to battle it out for the final podium spot behind Max Verstappen and Hamilton.
The Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was deployed late on when Zhou Guanyu came to a stop at the side of the track, and Perez initially jumped the gun when he was told that it was going to end on the exit of Turn Nine.
He gave the ground back and, following a lengthy delay, the 32-year-old was not ready for the end of the VSC period when green flags were eventually waved at Turn 13.
Russell took full advantage, passing the Red Bull for P3, and Perez believes that his race was compromised as a result.
“It’s a shame that the Virtual Safety Car interfered with the result, to be honest, it shouldn’t be the case but it was today the case,” he told RaceFans.net.
The Red Bull driver believes that Russell had more accurate information to act on than he did.
“It was really unfortunate what happened with the Virtual Safety Car, I got the message that it was going to end out of turn nine, so I went for it,” explained Perez.
“But it didn’t end and I had the message saying that it’s going to end all the way through turn 12.
“I was just too close to it; it seems like George had different information and he was able to prepare better for it.
“It was totally wrong with the system, there was something going on, it said it was going to end out of turn nine and it only ended out of turn 13.”
On the whole though, Perez did not see to have the pace of either Hamilton or Russell in the race, having been lagging behind Verstappen all weekend.
“It wasn’t great today, I have a few bits to analyse,” he conceded.
“I couldn’t find a good balance that I was comfortable with.”
Despite the disappointing personal result, Perez’s points along with Max Verstappen’s win helped Red Bull extend their advantage over Ferrari in the Constructors’ Standings to 82 points after Charles Leclerc crashed and Sainz finished fifth.