Perez Drops Three Positions On Starting Grid After Receiving Penalty

Saturday, 23 March 2024 at 10:15
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Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez will start three positions lower than his original qualifying position after receiving a penalty two hours after the qualification.
Ferraris dominated the qualifying session at Albert Park Circuit during Q1 and Q2. But when it mattered, Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez stepped up and recorded laps that put them in P1 and P3.
This would be an ideal starting layout for the team from Milton Keynes, as both drivers would be at the top of the grid and on the clean side of the racing track.
However, 2 hours following the end of the qualifying, it turns out that Checo will not start from P3 but P6 instead, as he dropped three positions due to a penalty for impeding.
The Mexican driver impeded Haas F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg on a flying lap in the penultimate corner of the circuit. The German driver had to break for turn number 13 and lost a lot of time.
Hulkenberg, who is an outstanding qualifier and most often makes it into Q2 or even Q3, was then knocked out of Q1 and will have to start the race from P16. The document from stewards read:

"Hulkenberg was on a fast lap when he approached turn 13. Perez, who was on an out lap was at the apex of the turn and Hulkenberg had to leave the racing line to drive around him. Hulkenberg was forced to lift the throttle early and brake early for that corner."

The document also added that stewards found the incident between Hulkenberg and Perez unnecessary and, therefore, decided to award the Red Bull driver a penalty  "consistent with previous cases."

"While the Stewards appreciate the dynamic situation facing the team and driver during the Q1 session, which was described in the hearing, the Stewards find that Perez "Unnecessarily Impeded" Hulkenberg and issue a three grid place drop, consistent with previous cases."