Perez issued Australian GP grid drop

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Sergio Perez has lost his third-place starting position for the Australian Grand Prix after being issued with a grid penalty.

The Mexican was placed under investigation after allegedly impeding Nico Hulkenberg during qualifying at Albert Park.

Perez progressed into the final qualifying segment and set the third fastest lap time to initially secure his best result since Belgium last year.

However, a three-place grid penalty has shuffled him back to sixth place, allowing Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri to move forward one position each.

The verdict

The Stewards’ verdict read: “Hulkenberg was on a fast lap when he approached Turn 13.

“Perez, who was on an out lap was at the apex of the turn and Hulkenberg had to leave the racing line to drive around him.

“Hulkenberg was forced to lift the throttle early and brake early for that corner.

“In reviewing the audio from Perez’s car, the Stewards observed that the team was focused on the car in front of Perez that had just slowed, and did not give Perez a warning that Hulkenberg was behind him until one second before Hulkenberg arrived, and significantly too late to avoid impeding Hulkenberg.

“While the Stewards appreciate the dynamic situation facing the team and driver during the Q1 session, which was described in the hearing, the Stewards find that Perez ‘Unnecessarily Impeded’ Hulkenberg and issue a three grid place drop, consistent with previous cases.”

Perez’s teammate Max Verstappen will start the Grand Prix from pole position for the fourth successive race.

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