Sergio Perez could have finished on the podium in the Austrian Grand Prix if not for his five-place grid penalty according to Rob Fernley.
Perez carried a grid penalty into last weekend’s race, after he was deemed responsible for a last lap clash with Felipe Massa in Canada, which saw both drivers eliminated while battling for fourth.
Starting just 15th, the Mexican, as was the case in Canada two weeks previously, used an alternative strategy, running deep into the race on his opening stint, and temporarily leading on his way to a sixth place finish.
If not for the penalty, which dropped him from 11th on the grid, Force India Deputy Team Principal believes Perez would have featured in the battle for the final spot on the podium.
Speaking to AUTOSPORT following the race, Fernley stated: “I think we got hurt by the penalty. If we hadn’t got the penalty I think we’d have been every bit as strong as in Montreal.
“I think we would have been challenging very close for the podium with Williams; we had the same pace, we did the fastest lap.
“It’s there, but I think the qualifying start was the one that hurt us,” he concluded.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic