Perez to start Austrian GP Sprint from P13 after Q3 lap times deleted
Sergio Perez will start Saturday’s Sprint event at the Austrian Grand Prix from 13th on the grid, after all his Q3 lap times were deleted for track limits infringements, after the session.
Perez made it through to the final part of qualifying where he was fourth fastest, but it later emerged his Q2 lap had breached the track limits rules, meaning the stewards deleted that time, along with all his Q3 laps.
That means his best ‘legal’ lap was only good enough for 13th on the grid, which is where he will start the Sprint race on Saturday.
The Red Bull racer said: "It is disappointing to lose fourth place, the track limits are very tight here this season, but it is frustrating that the team weren’t told my lap time had been deleted during Q2.
“We have the Sprint tomorrow to make up ground and a long race ahead. We have to keep our head down and push hard to make progress and put us in a good position for Sunday.”
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Team boss Christian Horner added: “We feel the penalty for Checo was very harsh and should have been dealt with before Q3 to enable us to improve subsequent performance.
“He will do his best tomorrow from P13 and try and put us into a better position for Sunday’s race.”
The stewards' ruling said: “The team made the point that they took both risk and expended resources to compete in Q3. The stewards accept this point. However, in assessing a penalty after a session, this is no different than any other situation.
“The usual penalty is deleting the lap time concerned, and the stewards order the same penalty here.
“However, as a consequence, the driver would not have proceeded into Q3 and therefore, in fairness to all the other competitors, the stewards order that all the lap times for Q3 for the driver also are deleted.”
The stewards, meanwhile, also handed Mercedes’ George Russell a warning after he entered the track and then the pit lane on foot after his Q3 crash.