Sergio Perez has been handed a one-place grid penalty for Sunday’s F1 Tuscan GP after his run in with Kimi Raikkonen during Friday practice.
Perez, who will be departing Racing Point at the end of this season after seven years with the team, tagged Raikkonen at the first corner as he emerged from the pit lane, and with the Finn on his outside after flying down the straight.
The collision sent Raikkonen into the gravel, leading to the second red flag of the session following McLaren driver Lando Norris’ crash 40 minutes earlier.
Assessing Perez’s incident, via a statement the stewards said: “The driver of car 11 [Perez] was warned by his team of the approach of car 7 [Raikkonen] and car 23 [Alex Albon] as he was leaving the pit exit. There was a blue flag waved at him prior to Turn 1 and it was apparent that he saw car 7 in his mirrors.
“The driver argued that the pit exit is extremely long and he had reached a high speed by the time he was passed by car 7 and that he was unable to take a different approach to the turn.
“In deciding the penalty, the stewards considered other similar incidents in free practice, including BOT [Valtteri Bottas, Abu Dhabi 2019 – reprimand] and VET [Sebastian Vettel, Bahrain 2015 – NFA).
“We consider there is some merit in mitigating the penalty and therefore reduce the normal penalty for an offence of this type from three grid positions to one, noting that a grid penalty is appropriate as car 11 was exiting the pits, whereas car 7 was on a fast lap and therefore the driver of car 11 was wholly to blame.”
Explaining the accident from his perspective, Perez said: “I feel that the pit lane exit line goes far too long. It doesn’t give enough angle for the cars. It’s obviously a new place, we’ve never been here before .
“I was aware Kimi was there, obviously not that close because when I’m in the pit lane I’m not able to see him. It’s quite a distance, unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid him.”
Asked whether the pit lane situation would be raised at the drivers’ briefing, Perez added: “It’s something we’re going to talk about to see what is the best thing we can do.”
PEREZ GETS GRID DROP FOR SPINNING RAIKKONEN IN PRACTICE PEREZ GETS GRID DROP FOR SPINNING RAIKKONEN IN PRACTICE
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F1 2020 NEXT RACE
|Russia ||27 Sep|
|10h00 - 11h30||Free practice 1|
|14h00 - 15h30||Free practice 2|
|11h00 - 12h00||Free practice 3|
|14h00 - 15h00||Qualification|
|14h10 - 16h10||Race|