Sergio Perez, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc were in thick of things in F1 Austrian GP with regards to penalties among others.
The whole penalty saga started upon F1 Austrian GP re-start when Red Bull’s Perez went for a move on McLaren’s Norris at Turn 3-4-5 sequence. The Mexican and the Brit came side-by-wide, with the former on the outside and on the gravel.
Perez dropped back as a result, but Norris was handed a five-second time penalty, which not only annoyed him then but also after the race, where he eventually lost a second place finish to Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas due to the time penalty.
The penalty saga didn’t end as Perez did a similar thing like Norris, when Ferrari’s Leclerc tried a move on him in the same corner. This time the Monegasque lost out on the gravel, but it was not as devastating as it was with the Mexican, who lost heaps of places.
They were back together again at Turn 5-6-7 sequence, with Leclerc on the outside in the right-hander this time. The result was same with the Monegasque losing out. Perez was handed a double five-second penalty, which cost him fifth to Carlos Sainz.
Leclerc was pretty livid in the car and also caught up with Perez in parc ferme. The two cleared the air, with the Mexican not feeling himself with the incidents. There were further penalties of five-seconds to AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda for pit entry white line trouble.
Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi was handed for speeding in pitlane, while post-race, teammate Kimi Raikkonen had a drive-through for colliding with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel. That incident popped up double-wave yellow from Turn 4 to Turn 6.
While six of them were cleared of it, Haas’ Nikita Mazepin and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi were caught in race speed, which is why they were handed a 10s stop and go penalty. Raikkonen and Vettel, meanwhile, shrugged off their late collision as a ‘misunderstanding’.
Here’s what Perez, Norris and Leclerc said:
Perez: “Basically, with Norris, it was on re-start and a bit over the limit. Lando got away with it, he didn’t have any damage but obviously, my race got ruined after the move. I got some damage from the gravel, I guess. With Charles, we were running dirty air, with lot of traffic, very old tyres and braking as late as possible, running out of road with contact. I have to review both the incidents.
“That’s not the way I like to race and I am extremely sorry if I affected Charles’ race because that’s not the way I do racing. I spoke to him and explained him what happened from my side, obviously, it is not enough. I don’t feel happy and comfortable with myself, knowing that I ruined the race for another driver but I have to review the incident and move on.”
Norris: “From my point of view, I think if I want to compare it to anything, it’s the same as Max and Lewis in Imola. Did you get a penalty for that? (To Max) No. Same thing as that. It’s lap one, or it’s a restart, and I think Sergio, I expect…. maybe he doesn’t know there’s gravel on the exit of that corner and it’s downhill, easy to run wide and it was just what happens.
“You watch Formula 2 or Formula 3 or any category and people who try to go around the outside there and don’t commit to it end up in the gravel. That’s just the way that corner runs. So, he took the risk, and not me. He didn’t commit to his overtake the way he should have done and yeah, he put himself in the gravel, so I don’t feel it was my mistake but I don’t make the penalties.”
Leclerc: “It was very-very difficult to overtake. Every opportunity that I could see, I was going for it but it didn’t work out. I was pretty angry in the car because I felt like I had no space. I know the overtakes were quite optimistic but on the other hand, I had to if I had to make it work. There was no space on the exit of the corner, but that’s life.
“This one is probably a little bit different than what happened with Max, because you can argue that two years ago, I was not in front at the apex, or we were very close, at least. But this year I was definitely in front at the apex so he had to leave a space on the exit but you know I think he knows he overstepped it a little bit.
“We spoke with Checo, he apologised straightaway after the race and it’s fine, I’m the type of guy that is staying on it for so long. So, air is clear, and I’ll go forward. But I feel like this one was obviously a little bit different the consequences were bigger for me there was gravel and not tarmac, and I will also in front at the apex around the outside so you need to leave space.”
For team bosses, side, Red Bull’s Christian Horner felt none of the three was warranted, while Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto reckoned the Turn 4 was needed, but the Turn 6 could have been a racing incident. McLaren’s Andreas Seidl, meanwhile, didn’t agree with Norris’.
Horner: “You know the incident between Checo and Lando, that’s racing, you go around the outside, you take the risk. You know, particularly when you’re not in a position of being ahead, but I think the FIA having awarded that penalty then couldn’t not award a penalty for a very similar move with Charles.
“But these guys have raced in karting from when they were kids and it happens you know if you go around the outside you take the risk, particularly if you’re not ahead. The penalties were a bit harsh and it sort of does slightly go against the ‘let them race’ mantra that we’ve been championing in recent years.
“With regards to what it does with drivers having been penalised, you don’t want the equivalent of footballers taking a dive! I think we need to avoid that. I know it’s incredibly difficult because we talk about these things very often, and difficult for the race director, but I did feel that maybe today, the incidents that we did see could have been leant to more racing incidents than been deserving of penalties.”
Binotto: “I think that I see it as the stewards saw them: he has been penalised. I think the very first one. Certainly, Charles was already ahead and was pushed off the track so no discussions there.
Seidl: “Personally, I didn’t agree at all with the time penalty Lando received for defending towards Perez. The cars were completely side by side. Then of course you should not give a penalty. Perez was also on the outside. I struggle to see the consistency, because to compare with the incident in France — when Pierre came from the back and pushed Lando off — that for me was a clear racing incident. But if you see what happened in Austria, Lando was parallel with Perez or maybe slightly ahead, sticking to his racing line and not doing anything crazy with his car, plus considering it is at the very beginning of the race when a lot is going on, I struggle to see how you can justify a penalty.”
While the decision was taken by the team of stewards – Dr Gerd Ennser, Paolo Longoni, Derek Warwick and Walter Jobst – the FIA Race Director, Masi, explained what led them to take it, with regards to the penalties, especially of the three drivers above.
Case of Perez-Norris and Perez-Leclerc, difference to Imola:
Masi: “Obviously, the stewards had a look at all three. And in their view in all three circumstances, in the first case, in Sergio’s one with Lando, that he was wholly alongside Lando. And therefore, that there is an onus to leave a car’s width to the edge of the track. And then the same in the reverse with Checo and at exit of turn four, and then Checo and Charles again at the exit of turn six.
“Obviously, I don’t sit in the Stewards room to deliberate, but their view was in all three circumstances that a car’s width should have been left to the edge of the track because the two cars were alongside each other their view was in all three circumstances that the car should have been left at the edge of the track because the two cars were alongside each other. First corner Lap 1 incident are treated in a more lenient manner.
“This is to be seen in a team’s perspective. Obviously, it is difficult to compare two completely different corners. And that has been the case for a number of years. Under the “let them race” principles, let’s call it. But each and every one, it’s very difficult to try and compare. I know everyone likes to group everything, but it’s very difficult to compare two completely different corners a la Imola, and either turns four or six here.”
Here’s video of Lando Norris and Sergio Perez: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-austrian-grand-prix-perez-loses-places-after-thrilling-wheel-to-wheel-battle-with-norris.1704361672174411850.html
Here’s what happened between Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-austrian-grand-prix-furious-leclerc-goes-off-track-twice-in-fight-with-perez.1704365301482463973.html
Here’s the clash between Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-austrian-grand-prix-raeikkoenen-and-vettel-collide-on-final-lap.1704368244427566656.html
Here’s how F1 Austrian GP panned out