It was a day of mixed emotions for Sergio Perez. Starting 9th, he finished in P5. Disappointment was the overriding emotion, though, as a 5-second penalty cost him a podium spot.
''Yeah, it was a real shame that we didn’t get the podium,'' he said. ''We got it on track but we lost it later on.''
Perez had worked his way up to P4 after a lovely move on Sainz early in the race and benefitted from the collision between title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
He looked set to take third place from Charles Leclerc on lap 32 at the second chicane, but Perez felt he had to go off the circuit to avoid an incident. Red Bull and Perez thought the stewards would give them more information after the incident.
''To be honest, we expected a bit more from the stewards in the sense that I had nowhere to go. It was either cutting the corner or having contact with Charles [Leclerc].
''I know that’s a rule but as a team, we thought ‘well probably they can be a bit more sensible here and have a wider view’ but it didn’t happen.''
Perez was asked if he thought about giving the position back himself. Red Bull weren’t helped by the fact that Bottas was attacking and overtaking Leclerc soon afterwards.
''I think everything happened too quick and then Valtteri [Bottas] was really close to him. I think we decided to carry on, thinking that we probably can have a discussion with the stewards.''
However, Perez did later concede they should have probably handed the place back to Leclerc in a separate interview.
''In hindsight, we probably should have given the position back earlier and avoid the penalty.''
With Hamilton and Verstappen scoring no points, Valtteri Bottas outscored Perez by five points as Mercedes extended their lead in the Constructors’ Championship to 18.
''We were ahead of Mercedes [on the road]. Unfortunately with the penalty, we lost out to Valtteri. This was a track where we knew they were going to be fairly strong.''
¡Lo dejamos todo en la pista! Un podium en la pista y una penalización injusta nos lo quitó. Vamos hacia adelante, queda mucho campeonato y estamos más unidos que nunca @redbullracing #ItalianGP #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/FBSQ7xVKAr— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) September 12, 2021