The FIA did not cover themselves in glory at the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix. With over 20 minutes to go Race Control issued the notification that the Red Bull driver was to be investigated for Safety Car breaches following the race. This left the rust in doubt by the time all TV coverage across Europe had completed its post race shows.
Sergio had one the race from Charles LeClerc by around 7.5 seconds.
Yet the Mexican driver in fact fell too far behind the required 10 car lengths when he was leading the car train during a Safety Car period.
F1 Stewards do not accept Perez explanation
Ferrari believed there were two breaches and informed LeCLerc of this as he came into the pits after finishing second.
The stewards finally revealed Sergio had fallen more than 10 car lengths behind the safety car between turns 13 and 14. Perez argued because of the wet dry nature of the track there were places he didn’t have the traction of the Mercedes Benz safety car and couldn’t keep up.
The stewards noted, “…despite the track being wet in parts, we do not accept that the conditions were such as to make it impossible or dangerous for Perez to have maintained the required less than 10 car length gap”.
However, taking into account “the wet conditions and the difficulties highlighted by Perez as mitigatory circumstances for this incident.”
Perez reprimand and penalty
For this Sergio was issued a reprimand. On the following lap race control issued a warning to Perez that he was not respecting the distance rule between turns 9 and 10.
Then there was another instance where the Red Bull driver fell behind the required distance between laps 13 and 14.
The stewards, therefore, felt that failing Perez was in breach of the regulation following an “express warning” from the race director and this merited a five-second penalty.
Over two hours after the race has finished, a decision. Penalty for Sergio and he keeps the race win. Surely though, this could have been investigated the race? pic.twitter.com/8oMxiV9czi
— David Croft (@CroftyF1) October 2, 2022
“There was a bit of miscommunication with Bernd and I think on the places where I could keep up with him, he was super slow, on the places I could not keep up with him, he was fast,” said Perez.
“Bit of a miscommunication there. I think these conditions are not normal so it’s fully understandable.”
“These conditions we were facing, especially the final sector, were super tricky.
“So I do expect no further action, the stewards were pleased with my explanation and they understood it.”
The Ferrari boss told Sky Sports F1 after the race he believed Perez should be relegated from his win.
“We believe that’s an infringement,” said Mattia Binotto after the race.
“The last time it happened, which I think was [Antonio] Giovinazzi in 2020, it has been a five-second penalty.
“But we are not there, we did not participate in the summons, it’s difficult for us to judge.
“We wait and hopefully it can change the result of the day.”
Red Bull let off lightly again
The decision of the F1 Singapore stewards will irritate Binotto who believed during this season’s Monaco GP the Red Bull drivers had crossed the white line remarking the pit exit lane, yet no penalty was forthcoming.
Despite Charles LeClerc winning pole position in Monte Carlo, Perez eventually won the race after Ferrari errors in pit stop timing and tyre choices.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 2, 2022