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Perez victory confirmed despite safety car penalty

Perez victory confirmed despite safety car penalty

Perez victory confirmed despite safety car penalty

Perez victory confirmed despite safety car penalty
Ewan Gale & Ian Parkes

Sergio Perez has been confirmed as the winner of the Singapore Grand Prix despite being handed a penalty by the FIA.

The Mexican driver had driven superbly after taking the lead from Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the first corner, surviving two safety car periods, three virtual safety cars and the change in conditions from wet to dry.

But the race stewards had placed the Red Bull driver under a double investigation for alleged safety car infringements, with Perez thought to have dropped too far back from the Mercedes AMG GT Black Series.

Team principal Christian Horner described the investigation as a "non-issue" but after the process, F1's governing body disagreed, with Perez being handed a reprimand and a five-second time penalty.

With a victory margin of 7.5secs over Leclerc, however, Perez keeps his win.

With regard to the reprimand, the stewards noted: "Article 55.10 of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations requires that the leader must keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car once deployed until the lights are extinguished.

"Car 11 [Perez] was the lead car on lap 10.

"It was admitted while the lights of the safety car were still on, Perez failed to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car between the exit of turn 13 and turn 14.

"When questioned during the hearing, Perez said that the conditions were very wet and that it was very difficult to closely follow the safety car with little heat in his tyres and brakes. "Although the track was wet in parts, we do not accept that the conditions were such as to make it impossible or dangerous for Perez to have maintained the required less-than-10-car length gap. "Nevertheless, we took into account the wet conditions and the difficulties highlighted by Perez as mitigatory circumstances for this incident and, accordingly, determine that a reprimand ought to be imposed."

Given the warning, the fact Perez repeated the offence later in the race during the second safety car period, the stewards felt obliged to act.

The additional stewards' document stated that "...the race director had issued a warning to the team that Perez was not respecting the less-than-10-car-length regulation between turns nine and 10.

"The team passed that warning on to Perez.

"We refer to Doc 56 by which we imposed a reprimand on Perez for a breach of the same regulation during the first safety car deployment during the race.

"As this was the second breach of Article 55.10 by Perez during the race and followed an express warning from the race director, we determined to impose a five-second time penalty on Perez."

It makes the final laps of the race, that ran to its two-hour time limit, crucial as Perez was informed by his team over the radio about the investigation.

Despite his incredulity, he was informed to build a gap to Leclerc at a point when he had managed to break the DRS, allowing him to pull away and build the cushion that has now given him his fourth F1 victory.

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