Drivers on the F1 grid have an informal agreement between each other to not jump the queue of cars when starting a flying lap in qualifying, but this year so far many incidents of not respecting this unwritten rule have happened.
This issue was especially visible during the Azerbaijan GP, where many drivers overtook others on their outlaps or slowing down to get a better track position during the qualifying. Sergio Perez, who won that GP but started 6th on the grid was one of the losers in Q3, as he was not able to get a good track position, and he said it has been related to many of the drivers not respecting the gentleman’s agreement.
But the incidents of the Azerbaijan GP were not the only ones, as some of the drivers were already criticised before for not respecting this agreement as well. One of the most notable cases was the criticism directed towards Mazepin, the Haas rookie, after he violated this unwritten rule during the GP’s prior to Baku.
In regards of the situation during the Azerbaijan GP, Sergio Perez said: “It was basically that we all went at the same time, and people created gaps, but then other people overtaking, not respecting the gentleman’s agreement. It just made things a bit harder. We didn’t put the lap when it really counted. It’s as simple as that. Some drivers can respect that [agreement]. Not all.”
Although there is no official rules regarding the “etiquette” for qualifying, Perez believes it is something worth a mention during the next drivers briefing.
As he said: “The chaos really starts when people are overtaking towards the end of the lap, and we know that we should just hold position and try to create gap. It’s like a traffic jam. All of a sudden, it just gets worse and worse. It’s been like that for a couple of years. Maybe it’s something we should discuss as drivers and be more sensible about it, especially when it comes to qualifying, that we should be more respectful and be more conscious that this can create difficulty for other people.”
He added: "It definitely is worth a discussion to see how everyone feels about it. There are some drivers that do really respect it, and you can really trust. But there are some that you cannot.
“So I think probably, it’s good to bring it back up and discuss it altogether, and see if it’s something that we all feel should happen.”