Grid penalties for Hamilton and Perez

By on Friday, October 28, 2011

Lewis Hamilton. Photo credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Sauber’s Sergio Perez and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton have been handed three-place grid penalties for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix after they both ignored yellow flags during Friday’s first free practice session.

According to an FIA statement, the pair were penalised for “ignoring double waved yellow flags at Turn 16 whilst marshals were in close proximity to the track”. The flags were brought out when Pastor Maldonado’s Williams suffered and engine failure and he pulled over at Turn 16.

“Same old, same old,” Hamilton said after receiving the penalty. “I was engaged with the DRS under the yellow flags and you’re not allowed to do that. But the penalty was justified. “It’s not good for the weekend,” he added. “We don’t look like the quickest out there at the moment, so wherever we qualify, to then start three places further back from that will make our weekend very, very difficult indeed.”

The McLaren driver insisted that all is not lost, however. “It’s not impossible,” he said. “The race is very long, we have two DRS zones, so overtaking is possible. We’ll have to wait and see how quick we are tomorrow. “I had a problem with my driveshaft, which is why I pulled in this afternoon. Whatever changes I made to the car didn’t seem to cure the understeer I was having so I have a feeling it’s a driveshaft problem.

“Tomorrow I’ll have a new gearbox and I’m sure the car will be turning in a lot better and we’ll up the pace. I don’t know if we’ll be able to get down to the pace our rivals got down to today, but I think we’ll be quite close.” Pérez, meanwhile, made no mention of the penalty when asked about his day’s work, instead focusing on the difficulties he encountered with Pirelli’s hard tyre compound. “The hard tyre compound doesn't work, so it won't be easy to create a race strategy in which it makes really sense. However, everyone has to use it in a dry race,” he said.

“Regarding the set-up work, it is quite challenging because you have many changes of direction and several fast corners as well as slow corners too. But we could complete our programme and have the feeling we are getting there.” Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari later escaped sanction after being summoned to see the stewards following the afternoon session. The Spaniard was believed to have ignored yellow flags during FP2 but after presenting telemetry evidence showing that he slowed down enough, Alguersuari avoided a similar penalty to that handed to Perez and Hamilton.

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