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Sargeant baffled about not being told of illegal F1 safety car overtake

Logan Sargeant does not understand why the FIA gave him no feedback that he had illegally overtaken Nico Hulkenberg behind the safety car in Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW46 Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

During the caution period to remove Valtteri Bottas's stricken Sauber, Sargeant was running down the start-finish straight towards Turn 1 as his Haas rival emerged from the pits following a change of tyres.

But while Hulkenberg reached the critical safety car line that determines the running order a split second in front, Sargeant’s speed offset and momentum left him thinking he had got there first so he slotted in ahead.

Then, with no feedback from his pit wall or the FIA over needing to give the position back, Sargeant was handed a 10-second penalty after the racing resumed for what was ruled an illegal overtake.

Asked how hard the situation had been to read as he charged down to the first corner, Sargeant said: “There's a bit of elevation there as well and I guess it just makes things hard to see when cars are split by quite a big distance.

 “To my side, I thought I was way ahead. I didn't think it was even close so, to me, it was no discussion. So, to hear about that at the end of the race was a bit strange. I don't know if there's any way the FIA could maybe give us some feedback.

“We were under safety car for ages, I don't know why they didn't just tell me to give the position back. Obviously, I would've done so, had they said, but to my knowledge, I thought I was way ahead.”

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

A major set-up change for the race prompted a pitlane start and, while there was some encouraging early pace, he thinks circumstances worked against him with the timing of the safety car.

Plus, an inability to get the hard tyre switched on, left him enduring what he said was one of the most “painful” stints he has experienced in F1.

“There were good moments, bad moments,” he said. “I think the start of the race on the softs was strong and when we put on the medium tyre, we were in a really good place.

“But we probably could've done without that safety car because we would've gone medium, medium and that would've suited us much better.

“We put the hard tyre on, and I couldn't even get it to switch on, and immediately destroyed the fronts.

“From that point on, it was a massive, massive struggle. Bit confused about that last stint and probably one of the most painful ones I've had. We will see if we can do better going forward.”

Watch: F1 2024 Chinese Grand Prix Review – Verstappen dominates

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