Perez unpunished despite impeding Stroll
Sergio Perez has escaped punishment by Formula 1 stewards despite being found to have impeded Williams driver Lance Stroll during Japanese Grand Prix qualifying.
Williams driver Stroll complained about being delayed by Perez on a fast lap during his first Q1 run having encountered Perez in the middle of the Turn 16/17 chicane.
But stewards, including nine-times Le Mans 24 Hours Tom Kristensen, ruled that while Stroll was held up it did not constitute unnecessary impeding because Perez's position was a consequence of having just been passed by Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly.
"Throughout qualifying cars were slowing considerably entering Turn 16 in order to achieve a gap to the cars in front of them," said the stewards' statement.
"This created an accordion effect when several cars were doing this in succession. This contributed to the incident between Car 11 [Perez] and Car 18 [Stroll].
"Sergio Perez was setting up for a fast lap behind several cars ahead of him.
"Pierre Gasly was behind Perez, and approaching Turn 16 passed Perez, which he was entitled to do.
"The interaction with Gasly caused Perez to be at the apex of Turn 17 at the moment that Lance Stroll, who was on a fast lap, also reached Turn 17.
"After Gasly passed Turn 17 he was told by his team to pit.
"Article 31.6 [of the sporting regulations] prohibits "unnecessarily" impeding. Both drivers agreed in the hearing that had there not been the interaction of the other cars, Perez would not have been in the position he was and that the situation changed significantly and unavoidably when Gasly passed Perez.
"And therefore the stewards concluded that while Perez certainly impeded Stroll, he did not unnecessarily impede Stroll and therefore take no further action."
Stroll was unable to set a time on his second Q1 run thanks to the red flag triggered by Romain Grosjean's crash and did not make it to Q2.
"I didn't get a lap time as I was blocked on both my push laps, by Perez and Gasly in the last chicane, and then we got the red flag, so there was no chance to make Q2," said Stroll.
"But that is how it goes and there is nothing I can do about it now."