Formula 1 Racing

F1: “Totally wrong” VSC message cost me third place

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Paul Ricard, 2022

Sergio Perez says he lost third place to George Russell when the French Grand Prix restarted because he was given incorrect information about the Virtual Safety Car period ending.

The Red Bull driver lost third place to his rival when the VSC period ended with four laps to go. “It’s a shame that the Virtual Safety Car interfered with the result, to be honest,” Perez told media including RaceFans. “It shouldn’t be the case. But it was today the case.”

During VSC periods drivers are given a time they must not lap quicker than, and their pace difference to it is measured at regular intervals around the lap. When a VSC period ends, drivers plan their restarts to ensure they lose the minimum possible time.

To do this they require accurate information about exactly when the VSC period will end. However Perez said the information he received from the FIA’s systems led him to believe the VSC period was going to end earlier than it did.

“It was really unfortunate what happened with the Virtual Safety Car,” he said. “I got the message that it was going to end out of turn nine, so I went for it. But it didn’t end and I had the message saying that it’s going to end all the way through turn 12.

“I was just too close to it. It seems like George had different information and he was able to prepare better for it.”

Russell immediately passed Perez at the restart and took third place. “It was totally wrong with the system, there was something going on,” said the Red Bull driver. “It said it was going to end out of turn nine and it only ended out of turn 13.”

Perez endured a difficult race at Paul Ricard, finishing behind both Mercedes drivers. “It wasn’t great today,” he admitted. “I have a few bits to analyse. I couldn’t find a good balance what I was comfortable with.”

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