A bad week for Sergio Perez continued when he was handed a one-place grid penalty for the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello, with Lewis Hamilton saying there is "no time for play" at the intense new Formula One track.
Having previously expressed surprise at losing his seat at the renamed Aston Martin team for next season to new signing Sebastian Vettel, Mexican Perez was penalised on Friday.
After exiting the pits in FP2, the Racing Point driver collided with Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen, causing the Finn to spin and bringing out the red flag.
"There was a blue flag waved at him prior to turn one and it was apparent that he saw car seven [Raikkonen] in his mirrors," read the verdict of race stewards after their investigation.
"The driver argued that the pit exit is extremely long and he had reached a high speed by the time he was passed by car seven and that he was unable to take a different approach to the turn.
"We consider there is some merit in mitigating [a] penalty and therefore reduce the normal penalty for an offence of this type from three grid positions to one, noting that a grid penalty is appropriate.
"Car 11 was exiting the pits, whereas car seven was on a fast lap and therefore the driver of car 11 was wholly to blame."
Friday's Mugello Snapshot We already LOVE this place! pic.twitter.com/OfM6JFzQKZ— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 11, 2020
Lando Norris suffered a significant crash and multiple other drivers had spins as they got to grips with the new venue, with Hamilton acknowledging the stakes are high at a high-speed circuit.
"There's no time for play here, it's a very, very serious track," Hamilton said to Sky Sports after finishing second and fourth, with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas topping both sessions.
"It's all medium and high [speed] - you don't go lower than third or fourth gear. It is so quick and there's not a lot of run-off area.
"I like it. It's definitely a real challenge. I'm not that great at it just yet, but I'm working at it. I was just trying to get a clean gap in front of me to focus on improving my driving.
"There's no amount of changes I need to do to the car at the moment because when you're experienced as a racing driver there are times when there's no point changing the car because you're not driving it well enough.
"So you've got to get to the point where you're at the limit and then you can tweak it. I'll hopefully improve for [Saturday].
"On the long run it is one of the most physically demanding circuits that we've been at for a while.
"Particularly the double right-hander, most of the time we're flat out through those sections, so it's just holding your neck [up] the whole time. I love that.
"It almost feels like Turkey [Istanbul Park]. It's incredibly fast through [turns] six-seven and eight-nine.
"It's intense, I have to say. It's amazing to experience it and it's going to be difficult to look after the tyres through those sections, but everyone is in the same boat."Published 11 Sep 2020, 23:36 IST