Sainz: Time for F1 to penalize drivers causing red flags

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Ferrari's Carlos Sainz believes there is unanimity between F1 drivers that anyone causing a red or yellow flag during a qualifying session should be penalized.

The topic has been debated in the past but it came to the fore once again in the wake of last weekend's team order row between Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

In the final laps of the race, Verstappen ignored an order from his team's pitwall to let Perez overtake him to boost the Mexican's points tally in the Drivers' championship.

There was a widespread view in the paddock that Verstappen's firm rejection of that order was pay-back for Perez deliberately crashing in the final minutes of qualifying in Monaco last May and ruining the Dutchman's final flyer.

Sainz also lost out because of that incident. While the Spaniard steered clear of judging Perez's action and whether it had been deliberate of not, he made clear that the time had come for F1 to punish a driver who disrupts a qualifying session.

"Without commenting if it was on purpose or not, I think it's for real now that all drivers want some kind of a rule that, if you generate a red flag or a yellow flag, even if it's intentional or not, there should be something done to that driver, because you've compromised the other nine on purpose, or maybe not," he said.

"But you should get a penalty for it. If not, we're all going to start playing with it. And I've seen over the last few years a lot more play around with it than what you might even have picked out in the media."

Sainz suggested that F1 drivers usually have a clear feeling about whether an incident had been caused deliberately or not by the driver involved.

"I think all 20 drivers, when we analyse this kind of incidents, we know immediately that whoever has done it on purpose or not, because we're not stupid," said the Scuderia charger.

"But I'm not going to comment, it's an incident of the past. I'm just going to say that if there would be a rule in then it wouldn't even go through your head.

"I think it would [reward] Q3 laps, because it means that in Q3, there's a lot to win, but also something to lose.

"So you need to put a really good lap together with no mistakes if you want to take a position."

Sainz said that he believed that he spoke for a majority of his colleagues when saying that it's time for the matter to be written into law for next season.

"I think it's yet to be discussed. I think we've raised it a few times, but it's never been concluded into something. But I think for next year, it should be done," he said.

"I think either laps cancelled, though, or three or five places penalty if you put a yellow flag or a red flag in quali, which means the incentive of doing that goes away immediately.

"And it also forces us drivers to behave and to be committed to the lap, but also with a level of maybe leaving half a percent on the table."

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