Sergio Perez, Force India, Baku City Circuit, 2017

Force India collision ‘totally unacceptable’ – Perez

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez has described his collision in Azerbaijan with Force India team mate Esteban Ocon as ‘totally unacceptable’ and believes it may have cost the team a chance at victory.

With both Force India drivers running solidly in the top ten after the second restart of the race, the pair collided exiting turn two with Perez appearing to be squeezed against the outside wall by team mate Ocon, damaging both cars.

The damage ultimately led to Perez’s retirement with a broken seat, while Ocon was able to recover after the red flag stoppage to finish sixth. Perez believes the contact cost the team a possible victory.

“We were very close to a win today,” laments Perez. “With all that happened afterwards, when you see what happened today, I think we had everything we needed to be on that top step today. I think up to then, I was doing a great race, with so many restarts.

“I’m very, very sad for my team. They’ve done a fantastic job, working so hard and at the end of the day we’re just employees, the drivers. Just another part of the team and we have to work the same. We cannot be having these types of incidents between us. We ruined a great opportunity for the team.”

Having appeared to hold his line around the outside before contact with Ocon, Perez believes he is not responsible for the unfortunate collision.

“Frankly, I don’t think I could’ve done anything to avoid the accident,” explains Perez. “I was against the wall and there was nowhere for me to go.

“In all my career, I’ve had team mates that I’ve fought really hard but always with enough room to do what happened today. But I think what happened today is totally unacceptable for the team.”

Following the clash, Ocon was able to recover up to fourth position following Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s unscheduled pitstops. The Force India was later passed by both the championship protagonists, ultimately crossing the finish line in sixth.

“We unfortunately lost a lot of positions and a lot of time with the incident, which is a shame because I think a great result was possible,” says Ocon.

“I think he [Perez] was a bit deep into turn one at the restart, then I went to his inside between one and two. He squeezed me into the wall but then I was on the inside for turn two. It’s a very tight corner there, obviously. He tried to resist on the outside and we touched.”

Despite the setback, Ocon is choosing to look for the positives in the result.

“Good points for the team, great recovery,” Ocon says. “We had great pace after that, overtook a lot of cars.

“I had the podium for two or three laps, something like that. But then the Ferrari and the Mercedes were too fast for us. But we’ll discuss what happened internally and we’ll be back to being fine.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 42 comments on “Force India collision ‘totally unacceptable’ – Perez”

    1. Looking at the video Ocon posted to twitter, Perez did move across on him and banged tyres slightly before the braking zone, which would’ve put him off. You also can’t see where Perez is from Ocon’s view, he was right in his blind spot, like Button and Hamilton at Canada 2011. Unfortunate, but could cause problems in the team after last race too. Good to see Ocon consistently up there with Perez though.

      1. Jorge Olivier
        25th June 2017, 21:35

        Space awareness. If you overtake a car you must have an idea of where it will be and for how long immediately after overtaking. The crash was in straight line, had nothing to do with Ocon losing control because of Perez’s touch or the kerb. To the right was only the wall, he didn’t need to see Perez to know that he had to be there between his car and the wall. Just by moving 30 cm to the left he would have avoid touching him.
        What I dislike is Ocon’s argumentation that “Perez hit me before” and his BIG smile in post-race interviews. It seems to me a case of road rage and that he’s just happy for beating Perez and not caring for losing a podium for himself or even a first win for Force India..

        1. Precisely. Button on Hamilton in Canada 2011 was when Hamilton was overtaking Button, not the other way around.
          I literally threw my arms up in the air when I saw this crash, it’s a shame for Force India, for Perez and for Occon. Hopefully they’ll resolve it internally and move on, but I’m really sorry that this happened :\

    2. Watching Ocon Onboard: In the first clash Ocon is in Perez blindspot hence Perez touch him a little, i guess the clash got Ocon Angry, and in the next corner he simply puts Perez in the wall, leaving no space, quoting Alonso: “you always have to leave a space”, the rookie is obsessed with beating Checo, but in my opinion he just lacks the speed and experience to do it fairly, and we are witnessing his frustration speaking for him, I like racing so hopefully this fight goes on, but i wish is a fair fight, like PER vs BUT, PER vs HUL

      1. Ocon lacks speed? He’s right up there, and it’s the second consecutive race that he’s quicker than Perez. I bet he’ll be on top at the end of the season.

        1. Jorge Olivier
          25th June 2017, 21:56

          So far he’s not quicker than Perez. He’s getting close as expected but saying that for “the second consecutive race he’s quicker than Perez” is a misstatement. Just go and download the lap times and calculate the average.

        2. He was not quicker at all, before the safety car Perez was 7 seconds ahead, very steady in the 3rd place, and in the end we saw how everyone passed Ocon leaving him 6th; I bet Perez would convert that final stages Ocon situation in to a Podium as he always do.

          In Canada Ocon was also not quicker, he got the better strategy, his tyres were a lot fresher than Perez’s.

          So yes, he lacks speed, 7-1 in qualy.

          1. we saw how everyone passed Ocon leaving him 6th

            You mean the 2 Mercedes and the Ferrari, the fastest cars on the grid? @juanmelendezr1

        3. He has never been quicker than Perez, what are you talking about? Qualy, Race, a couple of laps?

    3. Unfortunately everything will be wrong in FI
      …Peres will lose, …Ocon will lose.
      What could be the best year of FI could possibly end very very badly.

    4. Ocon is an idiot. Dirty move and then plays it off like some politician. Ocon is a Snake.

      1. Perez got what he deserved

        1. Deserve?

          How does one go about using that verb in auto racing?

    5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      25th June 2017, 21:32

      Tough one really because Perez seems like he touched him too and it’s possible Ocon didn’t just drive into Perez.

      Perez wasn’t going to yield (especially to his rookie teammate for a podium) so this was inevitable in the end and scripted from the last race.

      I love how he’s turned into Team Player Numero Uno though, when it suits him:-)

      The team, the team, the team this weekend!!

      Let us race, let us race, let us race last weekend!!!

      1. @freelittlebirds
        Exactly. Perez is feeling the heat from Ocon so he’s unwilling to give away anything easily. Last race that meant them both losing places to Vettel, this race they both took damage. It’s the unfortunate side effect of having two ambitious drivers in your team.

      2. They race pretty much last race too… Perez defended fair and just and Ocon couldn’t pass him. In Baku they ‘race’ as well and Ocon put Perez in the wall. That’s not called racing, it’s called being reckless against your own team mate, maybe Ocon could have escaped this scrutiny if he would’ve done it against other rival, but not your own team.

        A huge outcry was made because Perez stood his ground and possibly cost the team two points. On Sunday Ocon has costed the team possibly 25 + 18 + Williams out of the podium points, and everybody is still blaming Perez.

        Fine, your personal preferences are on the opposite direction of anything Perez, we get it, but make an effort at objectivity, it’s only going to help you personally and a richer experience for the rest of us in the forum.

        1. Perez has spent two years improving his image and reputation and in 1 race everyone is slamming him again. Is this some kind of country aversion? Lack of charisma?

          He is the best of the rest without a doubt and people are still talking more about Palmer, Ocon, Magnussen and Wehrlein

          1. That’s right. you have to see the races in a latin or spanish speaking broadcast, otherwise they never give credit to Checo. He has been fighting with the top brands and still making points. Is this some kind of country aversion?

    6. Perez was on the outside, way out of position. Maybe Ocon could’ve given him more room, but you also have to be aware that if you’re going so wide on the outside on a restart, someone can put the car where Esteban put it. A crash was inevitable with the wall getting closer and closer tho, but being a team player should also mean backing off when out of position.

      1. @fer-no65

        Maybe Perez was on the outside as a bit of a chain reaction from the slower restart from the two drivers in front?
        Maybe he expected some courtesy from his teammate?

        1. @faulty probably… that’s why they call this sort of thing racing incidents too. In the end, Perez had nowhere to go, so it’s more Ocon’s fault than Sergio’s.

          1. I’m angry because we were given demolition derby instead of a race.

            Especially when troublesome restarts behind the SC were totally foreseeable. It’s a street track, there’s obviously going to be difficult wreckage recoveries and thus SC periods, but the way the runup to the main straight is designed race control should have instructed the leader to let go off the SC and lead the pace one corner before so that there was space for race cars to, you know, race.

            After all, GP drivers know the rules and they know they can put pressure on their rivals but not pass them before a certain line on the track.

    7. Beyond being a team player, its a matter of be clean, and drive fairly, I think OCO is way to desperated to show he can be as good as PER, today he ruin FI chances of a two car podium. Lost alot of points vs Williams, a 40 points mistake

      1. OCO is way to desperate to show he can be as good as VER. He is carrying that monkey on his back since karting.

          1. Ocon is Verstappen’s Rosberg

    8. Ocon is the culprit in my opinion. Perez had that much space on the inside because he was overtaken by a Williams an Ocon squeezed into it and Perez into the wall.

      It happens in racing, even more after a re-start with all the frenzy and drivers trying to make the most out of it.

      Shame for FI they could have scored a double podium today.

      1. @johnmilk In that alternate timeline, Kimi wins it.

    9. Perez now saying that, yeah. Well, Sergio, the seeds of that were sown when you stubbornly drove on last race, agressively blocked off your team mate too. Now you will have to live with wat was started there, the inner team relationship breaking down between the drivers.

      1. @bascb, you have to be kidding, right?
        Last time I checked, this was called RACING. Since when doing a perfectly legal blocking move to defend your position is used as an argument against you? But the fact that you do not mention at all Ocon’s almost idiotic behavior today, is a clear sign of bias.

    10. I don’t get how Perez could be in the right here. Last time I checked, the rulebook was the same whether the track was borded by walls or by a tarmac run-off. So Hamilton can push anyone wide at the corner exit as soon as he is alongside (OK others do that to, but it has become a Hamilton v Rosberg trademark), and Ocon would have had to sacrifice his corner exit though he was almost entirely clear ? Of course Perez lost the duel and had to lift, but he banked on the fact that Ocon wouldn’t dare to take his line out of fear of hitting his teammate.

      I really rate Perez as a driver and like him as a person. But he is definitely feeling the heat from his teammate. He ignored the team’s interests in Canada, asked that they let them race, and then did a very late blocking move on Ocon, which was anything but OK. He said he was as fast as Ocon, but did you notice that Ricciardo never had to defend that way – or at all – from him ? Perez got away with it because he is a star driver and the team doesn’t want to upset him, especially as we are approaching the silly season. Frankly, he asked for what happened in Baku.

      1. Feeling the heat? He felt the heat with team mates like HULK, and never had a “racing incident” like this one OCO is good but is loosing absolutely in Qualy and Race againts Checo, so he is trying to desperatly to prive something

        1. There’s only one thing in my mind: Jenson and Nico Hulkenberg wouldn’t have clashed with Perez in that move

    11. Ocons true face revealed. This is the way he fights if things don’t come his way naturally. Ask Max, he knows because he had to deal with Ocons tricks during F3.

    12. Unbelievable how everyone draws parallel lines between standing your ground and defend just and fairly against your team mate, and slamming the other car of Force India into the wall…

    13. Ocon spoiled the day for the team with his over aggressiveness. It was already known that he has some kind of paranoia against Perez and therefore looks to outsmart him. He made a complete mess of it at Baku though, and he has the least regret or remorse for what happened judging by his comments. This guy is dangerous for the team – his paranoia will make him do silly things. He proved he’s just a schoolchild. His move also didn’t do his Mercedes aspirations any good. Toto would have seen.

    14. You cant compare Perez defending in Canada, to Ocons slamming Perez to the wall.
      In Canada no one crashed out, and in Baku, there races were ruined, Ocon was lucky to be hable to continue.
      Ocon just needs to be more patient.

    15. GtisBetter (@)
      26th June 2017, 22:20

      Ocon had the space, used it to overtake Perez. Then in the next corner he hit the kerbs and runs into Perez. I think just a racing accident, with a bit of personal flair. He should have moved a bit to the left though. He wil learn from it.

    16. I was getting to like Mr. Ocon over the last couple of races, but his smiling, supposedly wise, demeanor in the post race interviews has started to make me dislike this rookie that speaks so well, drives not so well, fails to take responsibility for his own actions, and is just another rich punk like Mr. Palmer (either one) that never belonged in F1 in the first place.

    17. Inside line, racing line for Ocon, Perez didn’t yield. Foolish.

      1. Inside line for a 90 degree corner?! Which sport do you say you’re watching?

        1. I mean, running side by side in a 90 degree corner…

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