Singapore was the race of Sergio Perez. At the second Red Bull, the man put on a world-class performance under floodlights. Some say it was the best ride of the Mexican’s career. Even better when he won Monte Carlo this season. At that time Perez also defied adversity. But to rise to the top, he needed the support of his strategy chief.
In Singapore, the third player from the World Championships took care of himself. He won the start and, according to his own statement, survived some difficult moments – both on the intermediate and slick tyres. Perez remained flawless under race pace. Despite the high pressure of Charles Leclerc at times. Monegasque found no way to the past. It was almost impossible to overtake between such cars.
When the liability ratio was even lower the risk would have been too high to fly into the odds from the ideal line. Singapore only counted 16 overtaking maneuvers after the end of the first lap. Max Verstappen orbited ten of them.
Same crime, only one punishment
So the beginning came with the initial decision. Leclerc was unfortunate not to take advantage of his pole position as it was on the side that offered less hold as there was more water. And yet Ferrari could have won this race from its point of view. The first since the Austrian GP. The team acknowledged Perez’s strong performance. However, Ferrari struggled with the decisions of the sports commissioners.
Perez failed to stay within ten car lengths of the safety car three times. Twice on the first intermediate on the tenth lap and later on the medium slicks on lap 36. A Guadalajara man excused himself on a soapy racetrack with cold tires and cold brakes. Only half of the stewards believed in him and gave different judgments for the same offence.
There was a warning for the first case, a five-second fine for the second. The stewards justified their initial decision as follows: “Although portions of the track were wet, we do not accept that the conditions would have made it impossible or dangerous for Pérez to remain within less than ten car lengths of the safety car. “
Perez with an avoidable offense
In other words: the violation could have been avoided, and yet the managers decided not to punish it with a time penalty. “Nevertheless, we consider the wet track conditions and the difficulties highlighted by Perez as mitigating circumstances leading to this incident and accordingly conclude that a warning should be issued.”
The sports commissioners sought the decision with a sense of proportion. However, it also makes sense when the injured side, in this case Ferrari, shakes its head. Especially since the second investigation ended with a five-second sentence against Perez. This time the stewards did not accept the defendant’s arguments as undermining. He should have known better after the first breach. And race control warned him to maintain the correct minimum distance shortly before the start again. Between nine and ten. They didn’t let him get away with the third offense.
no consistent line
This is a problem when the probe is only started with a delay. Like the first offense under Perez’s security car. The 32-year-old was informed only after the second violation by Red Bull that the investigation against him was ongoing. Perez wondered what he must have done wrong. An indication that he was not informed after the first offense. With the information from the FIA, Red Bull would have informed its driver. Then Perez might not have made the same mistake a second time.
It’s annoying when supposedly simple decisions are only made after the race. In this specific case, two and a half hours after the checkered flag fell. Either Perez was more than ten cars tall behind the safety car or the lightbar was not active. Of course you can hear the accused. But then you always have to handle it that way. The system is not uniform. There is a set of rules, but changing sports commissioners have different views. That’s why they interpret the rules differently. This is called a judgment of fact.
Ferrari would have acted differently
Leclerc realized his last chance after the second safety car. He knew he only had a few laps to pass Perez. The World Championship runner-up was better able to warm up the tires on that race day. He took advantage of six to seven laps with better air-conditioned tires before the temperature even reached Red Bull – and Perez was confident.
Had the sports commissioners made a decision during the race, Ferrari would have acted differently, according to people close to the team. Then Leclerc wouldn’t have to attack Hell on the first lap after the restart. As a result, he burned the front tires. But he could have managed the tires better with a short distance from Perez in clear air, the team argues.
Ferrari are sure Leclerc would have stopped with Red Bull within five seconds. And he would have won the race. He used too much tire rubber in the beginning and fell 7.5 seconds behind by the time he crossed the finish line. Of course, Ferrari could not afford to shut down its own driver on suspicion. There is no way to know what the fine will actually be. By the way, the competition has a different opinion. At Mercedes it is said that Ferrari generally put a lot more pressure on the front tires and was slower than Red Bull.
no opposition to ferrari
Let’s go back to the other episode. In Russia 2020, Hamilton was twice given five seconds for two test starts in the wrong position. Not only the warning, then action was also taken. At the Canadian GP 2019, the sports stewards penalized Sebastian Vettel for five seconds during the race. He is said to have struck a deal with Lewis Hamilton after tobogganing through the grass in a smooth one and returning unsteadily to the track.
Thanks to the quick decision, Hamilton did not have to attack a second time, but was able to position himself behind Ferrari. It was enough to be with Vettel within five seconds. He could even manage the tires there. The risk was no longer necessary.
Perhaps the people responsible for Ferrari deliberately kept their feet steady. In any case, there was no protest against the decision of the Sports Commissioners. Few fans like this very rarely. And on the political platform, a late ticket can be an unwise decision. Red Bull’s alleged breach of the budget cap is hanging on to everything – a week like this could reverse a lot of pressure on the FIA.
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