Sergio Perez has called his penalty for ignoring blue flags during the Spanish Grand Prix unfair as he felt he allowed Lewis Hamilton to lap him at an opportune moment.
On his first Formula 1 race back since testing positive for COVID-19, the Racing Point driver was handed a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags shown to him, instructing him to allow race leader Hamilton to lap him, but the Mexican driver has argued his position which ultimately cost him fourth place to teammate Lance Stroll.
Hamilton, who lapped every driver apart from Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas in the race, came up behind Perez around the twisty final sector of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the Racing Point driver opting to allow Hamilton to lap him at the start of the next lap on the main straight.
The FIA stewards handed Perez a five-second time penalty during the race which meant Stroll moved ahead of him in the final classification to claim fourth place, with Perez pushed back to fifth.
“I don’t understand where I should have moved, Hamilton got to me very late in the lap and then in the final sector it is very tight, very narrow, so I don’t have anywhere [to go],” Perez told Sky Sports F1.
“It would have been very unsafe for me to do something there but still I got the penalty. I feel it was very unfair but it is how it is.
“I am happy that at least we didn’t lose out with the points because Lance got them but I think the penalty was harsh.
“I got the call out of [Turn] nine, and into [Turn] 10 Lewis was very fast so the first opportunity I thought I had was Turn 1 because the track is very narrow and very tight so it can only go badly.
“So I thought he was only going to lose more time if I give the position there rather than waiting and giving him the position into Turn 1.
“I got the penalty so I don’t know if something changed while I was not here but I have seen a lot worse than that and people get away with it.”
Despite his penalty, Perez was pleased to see Racing Point move up to third place in the F1 constructors’ standings even with its 15-point deduction following its FIA brake duct design case.
The Silverstone-based squad is now one point in front of McLaren in fourth and two points ahead of Ferrari in fifth.
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