Sergio Perez has called for improved consistency with F1 officiating after he received a "harsh" qualifying penalty in Austria. Perez left the track at the Red Bull Ring's Turn 8 on his final flying lap of Q2, in which he posted a time fast enough to progress to Q3. Usual procedure would have resulted in the lap in question being deleted; however, as the infringement was only noticed by stewards moments before Q3 started, Perez competed in the shootout and set a time fast enough for fourth on the grid. But had Perez's Q2 lap time been correctly deleted, he would not have progressed through to Q3, and stewards therefore elected not only to delete the offending Q2 lap time, but also all of Perez’s times set during Q3. It meant Perez dropped from fourth on the grid to 13th for the Sprint race, having used up extra sets of tyres in the process.
Perez "paid the price" for the FIA's delayed action
While Perez admitted that he "definitely did something wrong" in exceeding track limits, he questioned the delayed penalty and the "inconsistency" of penalties. "I think I paid the price from the FIA not being able to police it better," the Mexican told media, including RacingNews365.com . "I got a harsher penalty than I should [have], because I wasted all my tyres in Q3 [and] I risked at all. But anyway, it's all in the past. "We are seeing a bit of inconsistency throughout, so hopefully we're able to get back some rhythm and work together with the FIA."
Perez: Other drivers got away with it
In a separate interview with Sky Sports F1 , Perez claimed that other drivers escaped without a penalty for similar track limits breaches in Q3. "I can tell you, if you look at the onboards from people in Q3, you will find people going off, but they just get away with it," he commented. "Maybe there is some something we can do, because that [penalty for me] was certainly a bit too much." After recovering from 13th to fifth in the Sprint, Perez clashed with Mercedes rival George Russell on the opening lap of the main race and later retired with bodywork damage. Across the 71-lap encounter, 43 separate track limits violations and several time penalties were issued, prompting a wave of criticism in the paddock. The FIA followed up on the comments to insist that their approach was consistent with previous races.