Helmut Marko has criticised Sergio Perez for allowing George Russell to pass him in Sunday's French Grand Prix as a Virtual Safety Car period came to an end. Perez and Russell had been dicing over third position in the closing stages of the race, when the VSC was deployed to allow marshals to clear the stricken Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu. As the VSC drew to a close, Russell appeared to hang back from the rear of Perez, before then getting on the throttle earlier than the Mexican and passing him on the twisting straight ahead of Turn 14. Though Perez came back at Russell, the Briton held on to third place until the flag, prompting Marko to issue his displeasure at Perez's losing the position. "It is very unfortunate that Checo was asleep at the restart," Marko told ServusTV . "A certain third place was lost there."
Perez admits he was caught out by the VSC
For his part, Perez acknowledged that the timing of the VSC period ending had caught him out. "It was a difficult afternoon," Perez told Sky Sports F1 . "First of all, we should have another podium. I don't know what was going on with the Virtual Safety Car. I just got caught up with it, because it was ending already from the exit of [Turn] 8, and it ended up at the end of [Turn] 15. "So there was something going on there and I got caught up with it." When a VSC period is ending, drivers will receive a message on their steering wheels saying so. This message will last for between ten and 15 seconds, before the light panels on the steering wheel change to green and racing conditions can resume.