SINGAPORE — Sergio Perez has held on to his victory at the Singapore Grand Prix despite breaching safety car regulations on three occasions during the race and getting a five second penalty.
The stewards investigated Perez for falling more than ten car lengths behind the safety car under the race’s two safety car periods. He was reprimanded for the first instance under the first safety car, warned in real time for the second incident under the second safety car and then penalised five seconds when he did it for a second time under the second safety car.
The five second penalty, which was added on to his race result, meant he still retained his lead in the final classification as he finished the race 7.5 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in second place, meaning the adjusted victory was by 2.5s.
Perez said he was unable to keep up with the safety car in the wet conditions, which the stewards noted and said was a factor in the reason for the reprimand for the first instance and the penalty for the second.
Speaking after the race but before the stewards’ decision, Perez told media: “I am pretty confident there is nothing with it because there was a bit of miscommunication with them. In the places I could keep up, [the safety car] I was super slow and then when I couldn’t he was fast.
“These conditions are not normal and especially the final sector it was super tricky. I think the stewards understood my explanation and are happy with it.”
The stewards statement for the reprimand said: “Car 11 was the lead car on lap 10. It was admitted while the lights of the safety car were still on, Perez failed to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car between the exit of turn 13 and turn 14.
“When questioned during the hearing Perez said that the conditions were very wet and that it was very difficult to closely follow the safety car with little heat in his tyres and brakes.
“Although the track was 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.
“Nevertheless, we took into account the wet conditions and the difficulties highlighted by Perez as mitigatory circumstances for this incident and, accordingly, determine that a reprimand ought to be imposed.”
For the penalty, the stewards gave the following reason, including the fact Perez had already been warned by the race director for a second infringement.
“Car 11 was the lead car on lap 36 during the second safety car period in the race,” the stewards statement said. “It was admitted that while the lights of the safety car were still on, PER failed to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car between turn 13 and turn 14.
“This occurred notwithstanding the fact that the Race Director had issued a warning to the team that PER was not respecting the less than 10 car lengths regulation between turns 9 and 10. The team passed that warning on to PER.
“We refer to Doc 56 by which we imposed a reprimand on PER for a breach of the same regulation during the first safety car deployment during the race.
“As this was the second breach of Article 55.10 by PER during the race and followed an express warning from the Race Director, we determined to impose a 5 second time penalty on PER.”
The stewards’ decisions reminded competitors of their right to appeal.