Sergio Perez was slammed with four penalty points over the course of the Japanese Grand Prix in a weekend to forget for the Red Bull driver.
Perez’s race starkly contrasted to that of team-mate Max Verstappen whose 13th race win of the season tied up a sixth Constructor’s championship for Red Bull.
After qualifying nearly eight-tenths slower than Verstappen, Perez, starting from fifth, found himself in the thick of the action on the opening lap when he and Lewis Hamilton made contact on the opening lap.
Perez dropped to 18th after stopping for repairs under a first lap Safety Car, but drew attention from the race stewards when entering the pitlane.
The Red Bull driver overtook the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso on his way to the pits under the Safety Car conditions, breaching Article 55.8 of the Sporting Regulations. He was awarded a five-second time penalty and two penalty points on his license for the incident.
The Mexican’s dire afternoon worsened when he attempted to fight his way back through the field.
On Lap 12, Perez eyed up an ambitious lunge on Kevin Magnussen into the Turn 11 hairpin but his attempt was from too far back and too late as he tagged the Haas, sending Magnussen into a spin.
Perez picked up more damage and was again forced to pit for repairs, but was also further penalised by the Stewards for causing the collision.
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19 hits Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas VF-23.
24.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race Day.
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“Perez was trying to overtake Magnussen on the inside of turn 11. The Stewards determine that PER was predominately to blame for the collision,” the decision read.
“Applying the 2023 Driving Standards Guidelines for overtaking at the inside of a corner, the Stewards noted that there was no significant portion of car 11 [Perez] alongside car 20 [Magnussen] and therefore determined that car 11 was not entitled to racing room in turn 11.
“Perez did not manage to do the overtaking manoeuvre in a safe and controlled manner.”
The 33-year-old was handed another five-second time penalty for the collision and a further two penalty points on his license.
Red Bull retired the car after the second incident due to damage, although Perez was yet to serve both of his time penalties.
The sporting regulations state that if a penalty isn’t served, a grid penalty ‘could’ be imposed for the next race. Perez made a brief return to the track, albeit some 26 laps down, to serve his final time penalty.
After picking up four penalty points over the course of the race, Perez’s total for the 12-month period rises to seven.
If a driver reaches 12 penalty points in a 12-month period, they face an automatic ban.
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