Perez takes ‘important’ point after furious Kvyat penalised for collision
For the second race in a row, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was penalised for a late-race collision. This time, in Austin, it was Sergio Perez he hit – and having initially been left enraged, the Racing Point driver was very pleased to get back a vital point for his team as the season nears its close...
Perez was running tenth in the closing stages in Austin when Kvyat attempted a move and the two came together, dropping the Mexican out of the points. But as in Mexico where the Russian hit Nico Hulkenberg in the final corner, Kvyat was deemed at fault by the stewards.
A quickly issued five-second time penalty dropped him down two places to 12th, and moved Perez back up to tenth – a result that could prove pivotal in Racing Points constructors’ fight with Toro Rosso for P6 in the standings, with just one point now between them.
“We had a tremendous race today and we managed to recover well as a team,” said Perez, who started from the pit lane thanks to missing a weighbridge call in practice. “We used a very aggressive one-stop strategy and had good pace all afternoon.
“On the final lap, Kvyat crashed into me and damaged my front wing, but he was penalised and we took back the tenth place. One point means we move up to sixth place in the constructors’ championship, which is important with two races to go. It’s only a point today, but every point will count at the end of the season.”
I’m a hard racing driver and every time I try to put myself out there they just take it away from me
As for Kvyat, there was no hiding his disappointment with the stewards’ decision after he missed out on points for the second Grand Prix in succession.
“I got the point on track and it was deemed apparently too aggressive,” he fumed. “I’ve seen harder racing than that to be honest without getting penalised, so I’m very disappointed why it had to happen with myself.
“I feel like more often there’s something I do and they just give me the penalty. Verstappen and Leclerc, no penalty in Austria – me and Perez here, a penalty. Fine. I’ll just keep fighting. What can I do?
“I’m very disappointed about this and it’s a shame. I’m a hard racing driver and every time I try to put myself out there they just take it away from me.”
In a slight twist of irony, Kvyat’s team mate Pierre Gasly put his late retirement from the race down to a collision – also with Perez.
“It was a really good race as we were running in the top 10 for most of it and keeping pace with the McLarens,” he said. “In the end I started to fight with Sergio and we made contact in Turn 13 which broke the front right suspension, so we had to retire the car.
“We were fighting, he went down the inside of Turn 13 then we touched with my front right tyre which bent the suspension. I don’t think it was anything big, but it was enough to put me out of the points and end our race.”
After all that, Racing Point now head Toro Rosso 65 points to 64 with two rounds of the season remaining. It's going to be an epic finale...