Sargeant baffled not to have been informed of illegal F1 safety car overtaking

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Sargeant baffled not to have been informed of illegal F1 safety car overtaking

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During the caution period to retire Valtteri Bottas’ broken-down Sauber, Sargeant raced down the start-finish straight towards Turn 1 as rival Haas exited the pits after a tire change.

But as Hülkenberg reached the critical safety car line that determines the passing order with a fraction of a second to spare, Sargeant’s shift in speed and momentum made him think he had arrived first , so he placed himself in the lead.

Then, with no feedback from his pit wall or the FIA ​​on the need to restore the position, Sargeant was handed a 10-second penalty after the race restarted for what was ruled to be an illegal overtake.

When asked how difficult the situation had been to read as he headed into the first turn, Sargeant replied: “There’s a bit of elevation there too and I guess that makes things difficult to see when cars are separated by a fairly large distance.

“For my part, I thought I was very early. I didn’t even think it was close, so for me it wasn’t a discussion. So hearing about that at the end of the race was a bit strange. I don’t know if the FIA ​​could give us their comments.

“We were under a safety car for ages, I don’t know why they didn’t just tell me to give up the position. Obviously I would have done it if they had said so, but as far as I knew, I thought I was early.

Sargeant’s 10-second penalty then dropped him to 17th in the final standings and came at the end of a weekend where he struggled to find consistent performance from his Williams – after be complained during qualifying, the car felt “disconnected”.

A major set-up change for the race prompted a pit lane start and, although the initial pace was encouraging, he believes circumstances worked against him with the timing of the safety car.

Additionally, his inability to turn on the hard tire left him enduring what he described as one of the most “painful” stints he had experienced in F1.

“There were good times and bad times,” he said. “I think the start of the race with the softs was good and when we put on the medium tires we were in a very good position.

“But we probably could have done without that safety car because we would have gone to medium, medium and that would have suited us a lot better.”

“We put the hard tire on, but I couldn’t even get it started, and I immediately destroyed the fronts.

“From that point on, it was a massive, massive struggle. I’m a little confused about this last passage and probably one of the most painful I’ve had. We will see if we can do better in the future.

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