Perez handed four penalty points amid catastrophic Japanese GP

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Sergio Perez couldn’t catch a break with the stewards in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, and nor did the Red Bull driver deserve any leniency from the officials after his calamitous display in Suzuka.

Perez will not only leave Japan with a poor review, but also with four penalty points added to his Super Licence, while his team’s antics regarding a five-second time penalty handed to the Mexican were also frowned upon by the officials.

Perez’s troubles started just a few hundred yards after the start when a melee before Turn 1 involving himself and Lewis Hamilton led to damage for the Red Bull charger and a pitstop for a new front wing.

But adding insult to injury, when Perez entered the pitlane during the early Safety Car period triggered by debris on the track, the Mexican inadvertently overtook the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso, a distraction that cost him his first five-second penalty of the day.

But wait, there’s more! A clumsy move up the inside of the Haas of Kevin Magnussen at the Turn 11 hairpin compelled the stewards to hit Perez with a second penalty.

Damage to the #11 Red Bull prompted the team to retire Perez despite his valiant efforts. The latter was on his way to his changing room when he was called back by the team and immediately ordered to get back into the car.

It apparently hadn’t been lost on Red Bull that if Perez didn’t serve his second penalty, the latter would be carried over to the next race in Qatar and converted into a three-place grid drop.

After a leisurely wait as his car was repaired, Perez headed back out, came back in, served his penalty and retired permanently from the day’s proceedings.

The FIA noted Red Bull’s dubious but legal interpretation of the rules. While Perez was handed four penalty points on his licence for his on-track transgressions, the team’s clever initiative will likely encourage the governing body to amend F1’s rules to clarify when a car is considered to have been properly retired.

"It got off to a bad start,” commented Red Bull team boss Christian Horner as he assessed Perez’s chaotic day at the races. "He got sort of pinballed on the way down to Turn 1, that was unlucky for him.

"He then had damage with Lewis [Hamilton] and broke the front wing. He then passed Fernando on the way in under the safety car, picked up another penalty.

"He goes out a little bit too optimistic, probably out of frustration trying to pass Magnussen...another front wing and the steering damage.

"So, the only decent thing we managed to get out of today was not carrying a penalty through into the next race in Qatar," concluded Horner.

"It was just a disastrous weekend," admitted Perez. "It all started into Turn 1 with a really bad start.

"I was squeezed out and I was just a passenger there in a sandwich. I think we carried a lot of damage in the car as well and that just made it a lot harder for us.

"We need to review the whole weekend to find out what happened because it was certainly a poor weekend overall, so something to understand."

Fortunately, Perez’s trials and tribulations were anecdotal for his team as a whole following Max Verstappen’s 48th career win in F1 that also delivered to Red Bull Racing its sixth F1 Constructors’ title, with six races to spare.

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