Sergio Perez has retained his Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix win after stewards issued him with a reprimand and single-time penalty for safety car infringements. Perez’s win at Marina Bay was in doubt after more than 10 car lengths – twice – fell behind the safety car, with Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto saying he expected a penalty for the Mexican.
As he cleared 7.5 seconds from Charles Leclerc, he held on for the win.
The Red Bull driver faced an investigation by stewards after winning the Singapore race because it is suspected that he did not stay within 10 car lengths of the safety car during the last full safety car period.
However, in a ruling issued at 01:42 local time on Monday morning, the stewards decided to slap Perez with a five-second penalty and a reprimand.
Officials offered two different decisions
As for the reprimand, the stewards said they “did not accept that the conditions were such as to make it impossible or dangerous for the PER to maintain a gap of less than 10 car lengths.”
But added that “nevertheless, we took into account the wet conditions and the difficulties highlighted by the PER for this event as mitigating circumstances.”
In the second decision, the stewards said that Perez had ignored a warning from race direction to close the gap, which is why he was handed the five-second penalty.
“We refer to document 56 through which we reprimanded PER for violating the same regulation during the deployment of the first safety car during the race. This was the second violation of Article 55.10 by PER during the race. and a clear warning followed. From the race director, we decided to impose a penalty of 5 seconds on the PER.”
Perez explained the incident and what he told the stewards during the post-race press conference: “There was some miscommunication.
“In the places where I could keep up with him [the safety car], he was too slow. In the places where I couldn’t keep up with him, he was fast. So there was a bit of a misstep.
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“But I understand that these conditions are not normal. It is completely understandable that the conditions we were in, and the ones we were facing, especially in the final sector, were extremely difficult. The stewards were please with my explanation, and they understood it.”
Perez is third in the F1 drivers’ standings, two points behind Leclerc, and 106 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen, who missed out on his first chance at a world title by finishing seventh.