Racing Point’s Sergio Perez has been handed a reprimand for his robust defence on Pierre Gasly towards the end of the Portuguese Grand Prix, putting him one further reprimand away from a potential 10-place grid drop.
Perez was attempting to hold onto fifth place after recovering to the high point scoring position following a lap one collision with Max Verstappen.
Gasly chased down Perez and pulled to the right on the start finish/straight to overtake him, but as he did so, Perez also moved right to defend.
The stewards determined: “On lap 64 of the race at the end of the main straight, Perez moved in defence at the exact same time that Gasly who was overtaking to the right having slipstreamed Perez down the straight.
“Gasly’s move was made before the braking zone and was entirely reasonable. As Gasly was moving to the right with significantly greater speed, Perez moved to the right and then continued to move in front of Gasly for a significant portion of the track but stopped having left a car width to the inside.
“The Stewards noted that earlier this year, the drivers discussed “late movement in reaction” moves and agreed that they were potentially very dangerous.”
The statement continued: “The Stewards considered that this move was at the fastest portion of the track, but also noted that Perez did not move in reaction, but rather moved first or simultaneously.
“Further he is entitled to make a single defensive move, but such a move cannot constitute a danger to another driver. In the hearing, both drivers agreed that while on the limit, this manoeuvre was fundamentally okay and constituted racing at the limit.
“The Stewards however, believe that this was too close to that limit and that Perez had not sufficiently accounted for the speed differential. In selecting a penalty, the Stewards have taken into account the views of the drivers involved and ordered a Reprimand (Driving).”
It marks Perez’s second reprimand of the season, with his first handed out on Saturday at Portimao, after he was found guilty of impeding Gasly during qualifying.
Gasly managed to overtake Perez on his next attempt, with Perez slipping back to seventh after also being passed by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.