Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado have all had penalty points added to their super licences by the FIA race stewards following incidents in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
None of the trio managed to finish inside the top ten at the Sepang International Circuit, with Maldonado retiring nine laps from the end due to a brake problem.
The Lotus driver had already served a ten-second stop/go penalty during the race for speeding under the safety car, and was given a further three-point penalty on his super licence after the race for the misdemeanor.
“The driver failed to stay above the required time set by the FIA ECU during the deployment of the safety car,” the stewards’ penalty report read.
Maldonado was disappointed to miss out on the top ten once again in Malaysia, with another first lap incident compromising his race.
“The potential is clearly there, especially in the race where the car pace is very competitive and we can score good points,” Maldonado said. “Unfortunately there was an incident on the first lap which lost me a lot of time and compromised the race from then on.
“Unfortunately, we suffered from a brake issue, which isn’t great but it’s effectively our first race and we need to keep working through issues, ready for the next grand prix. As soon as we have a clean race, we will be fighting for good points.”
Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg received identical penalties on what was a difficult day for Force India. Both drivers got caught up in incidents with other drivers – Perez span Romain Grosjean, Hulkenberg span Daniil Kvyat – but neither believed that they deserved a stop/go penalty and two penalty points.
“I felt I had nowhere to go and couldn’t avoid contact with Romain,” said Perez, who crossed the line in 13th place. “I thought it was a racing incident but it ended up costing us a lot. It’s a disappointing result but at least we were able to learn a lot from this race and this will help us going forward.”
Hulkenberg’s incident appeared to be more innocuous than Perez’s, but was again costly as the German finished 14th.
“The penalty for the contact with Daniil dropped me out of the fight for points,” Hulkenberg said. “I went a bit wide in turn one and chose to go back on the inside going into turn two. I was quite well alongside him, but he probably didn’t think I would try to come back at him.”