Whitmarsh defends Perez over Rosberg criticism

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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Martin Whitmarsh said he was surprised Nico Rosberg complained about Sergio Perez’s driving after the Japanese Grand Prix.

Rosberg and Perez made contact at the chicane during the race which left Perez limping back to the pits with a left-rear puncture. “The rules are clear,” said Rosberg afterwards, “if you move once to block you need to leave space”.

But the McLaren team principal said Rosberg was too far behind to expect Perez to leave him space.

“If you’re that far behind – he wasn’t alongside, he wasn’t even half alongside – if you hit someone from behind and give them a puncture you don’t often complain about it.

“There’s one, good space; and two, he’s a long way behind. I’m surprised if Nico is complaining and if he is I’m surprised if he means it.”

Whitmarsh said there have been “plenty of incidents where drivers have to brake out of a situation like that to avoid an accident”.

“If a driver doesn’t brake out of it I don’t think you can always just automatically blame the guy in front.”

Perez’s driving has come under fire from other drivers during the season including Kimi Raikkonen. “I think drivers, if they get a young charger in amongst them they don’t like it,” said Whitmarsh.

He added Perez’s reactions helped avoid a more serious incident when Rosberg was released from the pits directly in front of the McLaren earlier in the race. “If he hadn’t been very hard on the brakes he would have hit him in the pit road.” Rosberg received a drive-through penalty for the incident.

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “Whitmarsh defends Perez over Rosberg criticism”

  1. Fernando, Kimi and now Rosberg.

    I would believe Martin if he had been racing with perez.

    Guy just keep weaving around like he own the circuit.

    1. borderreiever
      13th October 2013, 13:45

      I’m a fan of both but Nico is out of order on this one.
      Perez was clearly in front, heading into the chicane – did Nico simply expect him to disappear?
      It’s far too easy to simply say ‘he’s done this before and he’s doing it again’.
      Nico, you were in the wrong.

  2. No martin , Rosberg did not hit perez from behind . Perez closed out Rosberg and did not give him any room . It was not a swift defense move , it was more of a “slamming the door shut” move . And Nico did brake , it was too late though .

    As for the pit lane incident , unsafe release no doubt . But yeah , they have been penalized .

    Perez is becoming notorious of late . All this Mclaren ” use your elbows ” strategy is getting too far . Look at how Nico or Button defends . So smooth , so flawless .

    1. By Nico in the post above I meant Hulkenberg not Rosberg.

      1. Might want to check your replays @hamiltonfan Nico is usually precise and he quite precisely knifed that tyre. It’s cheeky of him to come out and say something like Checo’s driving is ‘not right’. He’s proving good at deflecting blame, old school.

  3. “I think drivers, if they get a young charger in amongst them they don’t like it,” said Whitmarsh <– How about you branding Vettel as CrashKid. Was that done in the same vein?

  4. I think drivers, if they get a young charger in amongst them they don’t like it


    I don’t like drivers waving, but nowadays to defend, they only wave or squeeze. Stop moaning from both sides and do the job on track

  5. Martin Whitmarsh is the one reason why Perez has been driving so recklessly this year.

    1. Tell that to Senna, Prost, Schumacher, Hunt and all those amazing drivers from a time when, Formula One didn´t have so many Britney Spears driving and not so many racist bigots commenting like you.

      1. Worst comment ever.

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          13th October 2013, 20:42

          No doubt. He’s just bum-hurt that people don’t like his fellow countryman. We MUST be racist if we don’t like him.

  6. I’ve not seen the race (morning shifts on a raceday, urgh), but from the descriptions here it sounds pretty similar to what Perez – and from what I remember Whitmarsh – though was perfectly acceptable when done the other way round to Raikkonen in Monaco. I thought Perez was in the wrong in Monaco, and never had position in any way.

    If the situations are as similar as they sound, sounds like McLaren are trying to have their cake and eat it.

    1. Perez was wrong at Monaco but here I agree with Whitmarsh. Rosberg was too far behind, only his front wing was alongside Perez. It’s not that easy to see where exactly a driver is from a cockpit and obviously Nico wasn’t alongside Checo.

      1. What more experience drivers do and have said several times this year – Alonso, Vettel, etc. – is “I didn’t know/couldn’t see if he was there but I left room for him”.

        Perez did the same thing on Kimi in China, he doesn’t think that a car behind can get up on the outside of him into a corner so doesn’t leave room. But the reason to leave room, even if it might disadvantage you as the driver, is for the exact what happened to Perez (and Lewis in Spa back in 2011 irc), if you hit the driver behind you have a high risk of a puncture or a crash and can ruin your race.

        Rosberg’s comments are really meaningless – what Perez needs to do is actually learn from this – it’s going to impact his career, no one one elses.

  7. I don’t see how Rosberg can complain. There was never going to be space for him to get around Perez at that point and he wasn’t even alongside.

    1. +1 Rosberg just made a stupid mistake as far as I have seen it.

    2. In Monaco, I believe you said something like “driver always looking for a gap”..

    3. Rosberg is setting up to take the inside line at the next corner of chicane, and probably could have with better traction that the Merc has over the McLaren. Even if he doesn’t, he’s that much closer to Perez at the DRS detection zone and has a better chance of taking him on the straight.

  8. It was just a racing incident like Massa and Hamilton in the same corner in 2011, anyway they were fighting for 8th place and Mclaren should be more concerned about their serious lack of pace.

  9. Agree with Martin and NOTHING TO DISCUSS HERE…There was never going to be space to overtake Perez at that corner, I do not get why Rosberg is complaining, he made a mistake…GOSH! MORE DRIVING LESS WHINING!!!!

    1. They´re just bullying the new drivers.

      1. Trenthamfolk (@)
        13th October 2013, 20:59

        And Perez is wiping out the experienced drivers… either he listens to the criticism or he gets dropped… he can grow up or disappear, either way, he has to change!

        1. Or get a better car !


    1. If you think this is new, you may want to examine what happened between Senna and Eddie Irvine at Suzuka in 1993.

    2. Perez isn’t a new driver. He’s well into finishing his 3rd season. He’s getting picked on because his racecraft is rough. Comments towards Perez are mild compared to what Grojean went through last year with “1st lap nutjob” and picking up a one race ban.

      Though with Rosberg, it’s kind of like the pot calling the kettle black – Rosberg has done some absolutely serious chopping defending positions (Bahrain 2012 comes instantly to mind). Rosberg may look like a “Ballerina” but he’ll chop you in the back of the leg without thinking twice lol.

  11. A cynic might say that Whitmarsh would be better advised to spend more time finding ways for the McLaren car to perform better than to spend it constantly propping up Perez.

    There, I just said it. :)

    1. Exactly can’t do but defend on that dog of car, only williams can make a worst car lately ….

      1. And at least Williams has the excuse of a much smaller budget and far fewer resources. Been a McLaren fan since the days of Bruce McLaren himself, but they have really lost their way.

  12. I think Whitmarsh is 100% correct in defending Perez. Rosberg was in a stupid position and I doubt Perez even jnew he was still there since he would be blind sided by the rear bodywork and he’s looking right to enter the chicane. Rosbeg wa clearly wrong in this case. I think he hit his head singing in the shower before making that comment…

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