Sergio Perez angered by first lap French GP penalty

Racing Point's Sergio Perez at the French Grand Prix

Sergio Perez was left angry by a penalty that he felt cost him and Racing Point a shot at points at the French Grand Prix.

Perez went off on the opening lap and rounded the Turn 5 bollard as stipulated by the Race Director’s event notes.

But he was judged to have gained an advantage in doing so, with race footage suggesting that Perez had passed two rivals in the process.

“I locked up, I went off, and I just did what I was supposed to do, to go around the bollard, to make sure that you respect track limits,” he said.

“But I still got the penalty, I don’t know what is their [the stewards'] view, because it’s been very clear the rule, you have to go around the bollard, and as long as you are behind the bollard, you are complying with the rules.

“It’s hard for me to comment whether or not I gained an advantage.

“All I can say is that I stuck to the rule, and if that is quicker, that’s not my problem. It’s how it is.

“We should just make it slower, because Lap 1 of the race, on Lap 1, you’re just trying to go around it. To judge where you are… I ended up behind [Nico] Hulkenberg, it’s where I started, so for me it was very hard to see if I gained or not an advantage.

“All that I care about it to stick to the rules.

“I stuck to the rules. I don’t know what I should have done differently there in that position. I follow the rules. I got a penalty because of following the rules.”

Perez ultimately classified in 12th place, serving his five-second time penalty at his pit stop, 5.029s behind Red Bull's Pierre Gasly, who was elevated into 10th in the wake of Daniel Ricciardo's sanction.

“I think we had the possibility and the pace to be in the points,” he said. “But once you had that, you are totally out of the race, no matter what you do, you’re never going to claw them back.

“They ruined our race. I just have to review the incident again, but from my point of view, I just followed the rules, did what I was meant to do.”