During a largely uneventful Singapore Grand Prix, the only source of entertainment were the Force India team. Most of the action came from Sergio Perez, however. In the opening lap, he collided with teammate Esteban Ocon, ending the latter’s race. He then got into more shenanigans with other drivers.
One driver who’s rear end he saw quite often was Sergey Sirotkin. The Russian Williams driver soon became something close to an arch nemesis. It even got to a point where the two collided. That was where the problem lay for Perez and Racing Point Force India.
Perez had been hounding Sirotkin for a while and finally overtook him. But the Russian was not going down without a fight, and rightly so. He pounced back straightaway and got alongside Perez. Then it happened… The pink car seemingly swiped across and bumped Sirotkin’s Williams.
Charlie Whiting told #F1Live the Perez/Sirotkin clash reminded him of Vettel’s swipe in Baku 2017. Driver Steward Mika Salo believed Perez had got off lightly, adding that if he’d been in the Stewards’ office, he’d have pushed for a black flag.
— Will Buxton (@wbuxtonofficial) September 16, 2018
As pointed out by prominent motorsports journalist, Will Buxton, the incident was eerily similar to the one between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in Baku 2017.
However, there are a few differences seen between the two clashes. Firstly, the Baku incident occurred behind the safety car, so there was no danger of serious harm. The one between Perez and Sirotkin was during racing conditions.
Secondly, there was arguably little to no damage in the Baku incident. But in Singapore, Perez came off worse as he picked up a puncture. Sirotkin, in the meantime, lost a bit of bodywork and had to survive the rest of the race.
The Mexican driver initially pinned the blame on the Russian rookie and the team was under that impression as well. However, several replays showed that the Force India driver had indeed swerved into Sirotkin.
As a result, he was handed a drive-through penalty and 3 points on his license. He later confessed that the stewards got it right in awarding him a drive-through penalty and three penalty points for driving into Sergey Sirotkin at the Singapore Grand Prix. This penalty capped off a wretched day for the Racing Point Force India team, with Ocon retiring from the race.