F1 French Grand Prix | ‘Totally wrong’ message duds Sergio Perez of podium


Sergio Perez believes a “totally wrong” FIA message dudded him of a third place finish at the French Grand Prix.

Perez was overtaken by Mercedes young gun George Russell for the final step on the podium immediately after the virtual safety car – deployed to fetch the stricken Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu – ended with three laps to go.

The VSC period officially ended as Perez and Russell exited turn 12. But Perez claimed he got the message saying the VSC was ending as he neared turn nine – the chicane on the Mistral straight.

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When the VSC is ending, drivers are given between 10-15 seconds notice on their dash. This time difference is close to a minute.

Perez said he accelerated away nearing the end of the usual warning period, but was forced to slow right down and allow Russell to catch back up to avoid a penalty.

“It was very unfortunate what happened with the virtual safety car,” Perez said after the race.

“I got the message it was going to end out of turn nine, so I went for it and then it didn’t end. Then I got the message saying it was going to end through turn 12. And I was just too close to it.

“It seems like George had different information and he was able to prepare better for it (the VSC ending).

“I mean it’s a shame the virtual safety car interfered with the result, to be honest. It shouldn’t be the case, but today it was the case.

“(The message) was totally wrong, there was something going on because it said it was going to end out of turn nine and it only ended out of turn 12.”

The race was won by Perez’s teammate Max Verstappen after Charles Leclerc crashed out of the lead.

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