Esteban Ocon, Force India, Spa-Francorchamps, 2017

Ocon accuses Perez of ‘risking their lives’ after latest collision

2017 Belgian Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon has accused team mate Sergio Perez of risking both their lives following yet another race-ruining clash between the two Force India drivers.

The two team mates came to blows on track twice during the Belgian Grand Prix, with the second incident causing significant damage to both cars and forcing them both to make unscheduled stops for repairs.

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Spa-Francorchamps, 2017
Belgian Grand Prix in pictures
Asked after the race if he believed Perez knew he was alongside him during the second incident, Ocon placed the blamed squarely on his team mate.

“Of course he knew,” says Ocon. “I accept the first one. You know we are three wide – maybe he didn’t see me, even if I think he saw me. But the second one is just one too much. Risking our lives for nothing. He risked my life there at 300kph before Eau Rouge, so that’s the first thing.

“The second thing is that we lost a lot of points. He’s supposed to be a professional driver. Today, he didn’t show it. He’s never done that with any other team mates – I don’t know why he’s doing that with me.

Ocon expressed his intentions to discuss the incident personally with Perez after emotions had calmed down following the race.

“The thing for sure is that I’m going to go speak to him, man-to-man, and tell him the truth,” Ocon says. “He’s going to have a child. I don’t know if he wants to die or something. It’s just ridiculous.”

Sergio Perez admitted he felt responsible for the incidental contact between the two on the opening lap, but blamed his younger team mate for the later collision.

“I’m very disappointed with myself today,” says Perez of the opening lap contact. “It’s the first time that I do something wrong that I have to say with the first collision.

“I think the second one, he was just too much on the limit. There was no room for Esteban to go. He had the whole straight. The other one could have been quite avoidable.

“I think he probably feels the first contact I did on purpose. That’s why on the second one he came into the contact. Like I say, the first one was totally my fault and I apologise for that one, but then the second one he was too optimistic. There was no need to touch there.”

With this being the latest clash between the Force India team mates, Perez says the growing tension between the two is not good for the team.

Asked whether the incidents were good for the team, Perez says, “no, not at all. Especially after today.

“We have to think back – he put me into the wall. I’m not saying I did it because of that, but the tension started back then. It’s the first time I have this in my career. Hopefully we can sort it out and start scoring good points for the team.”

2017 Belgian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
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  • 80 comments on “Ocon accuses Perez of ‘risking their lives’ after latest collision”

    1. These two drivers cant be in the same team, Ocon needs an inferior teammate to be comfortable, to me it seems like he struggles a lot to accept when Perez is in front of him, the same goes for Perez: he wont let a semi-Rookie to be in front of him, a very messy situation but a very entertaining one.

      1. I really can’t see Ocon having troubles with being beaten by his team mate. Because he is behind Perez (right behind, to be exactly) like 90% of the time. You don’t see him complaining. He’s the new guy and he knows it.

        Pérez is the one being too aggressive because he can’t shake Ocon off his back. No matter what he does, the french is right behind him. In Canada he almost took Ocon out of the race and moments later, was extremely early on the brakes to let Vettel pass.

        1. I think he does, he is constantly remarking that he won more championships than Perez, and that his junior career is a lot better than perez’s, he stated to the latin american media that he will no longer accept being behind Perez all the time, he is also very upset about the 10-2 score in qualy, this guy really believes he is the next big thing, second to none, and is not afraid to say it.

      2. @juanmelendezr1 as Edd says. It’s more about Perez having a rookie so close to him, than Ocon having an experience driver ahead of him (just).

        Perez knows, deep down, that he has to do EVERYTHING to keep his stakes high before Ocon starts beating him regularly.

      3. Ocon can’t accept Perez being better? I think it’s more that Perez can’t stand Ocon is so close to him in his first full year. These lower deg cars definitely don’t suit Perez’s driving style as much as last year, so he’s not as good as he was, and Ocon is always improving, and Perez is getting flustered whenever Ocon’s behind him. Sure, Baku was Ocon’s fault, but the gap was there and he went for it. Now, in Canada, and here too, Perez has cut across Ocon when he was right behind him and quicker.

        1. Could’t summed it up better

        2. @hugh11 When Ocon is behind Perez at the start of the race, he stays behind, I remind you the score in races when both finished 8-2, and qualy 10-2, they are close in points due to Perez losing at least 18 points in Baku thanks to Esteban, also Checo showed a lot more pace than Ocon in this race but had poor start, (Perez undercut Ocon even with a 5s penalty).

          1. Agree with you there, Juan.

            Ocon sounded pretty hissy on the radio after he knew Perez had gotten the pit call before he did.

            Which then moves the ball onto FI’s wall. First in Canada (or wherever) they politely asked Perez to let Ocon through, show some balls, Radio guy! Do like they do in Mercedes: “driver behind has X number of laps and then we swap back”, not the cushy “hey mate, how’d you see if we tried…” to which Perez obviously responded with a negative.

            Now, if it was a tactical call to have Perez first because of the 5 second penalty needed to either be served then or, as Szafnauer explained to Sky, Perez’s stint had would have to be extended; then someone should have told Ocon that. He obviously felt wronged to not have dibs on pits.

            1. @faulty i agree, they lack a pair of balls in the pit wall, no more racing between these two is what the team needs.
              However for us fans it’s a pity to lose these battles.

            2. On that I do agree with you guys @juanmelendezr1, @faulty, the FI pitwall should have managed it better in Canada, let the cat out of the bag and showed Ocon that he’ll have to be assertive if he wants to get ahead of Perez – and so Baku happened, the team still didn’t realise they went about it wrong, and now Spa happened. Cost a lot of points.

              Ocon was annoyed, and rightly so, for ending up with worse strategy timing than Perez who he got by on merit before – regardless, the team apparently didn’t realise they’d have to manage that between the drivers, and they deserve the points loss for that, I think. I for one am glad that Ocon managed to stay in the points, Perez squeezed him and deserved the loss there today.

          2. But Ocon’s right behind him usually. It’s 10-2 but the delta gap is very close. Like I said, Ocon is very close to him, and getting closer all the time despite it being his first full season. Sure, Ocon lost them a lot of points in Baku, where he crashed into Perez, but he had made the move just the back end squirmed on exit and when he corrected it he pushed Perez into the wall. His fault, but it’s not like he did it on purpose. Perez lost the team 8 points today, and lost them a few points in Canada by not letting Ocon attack Ricciardo on fresher tyres. He’s being the more childish and petulant of the two, which is the point I’m making. Ocon isn’t quicker than him – yet.
            Re the undercut – the gap was staying about the same before they pitted, then Force India gave him a 3 lap undercut I believe for no reason, clearly preferring their number 1 driver who’s bringing them all the money

            1. @hugh11 The thing I don’t get is how people keep claiming Ocon is closing the gap in, Ocon has been one tenth in qualifying since Russia, and now he has a full year of experience at these tracks yet he was still outqualified. In today’s race the gap was coming down heavily by four tenths a lap, FI decided to pit Perez first as a way to nullify his five second penalty as he was able to make that time up again by having fresher tyres.

    2. perez completely to blame for the 2nd incident. his ego is becoming a danger on track. he can’t accept that ocon sometimes has more pace. I find it incredible that he wasn’t punished for the 2nd incident.

      1. I agree with Webber that if their allow to race why Perez has to not protect his racing line and let Ocon pass easy ? Ocon couldn’t make a quality pass and crash into his team mate again.

        1. Perez didn’t need to squeeze him in the wall. It’s his fault. All of it.

          1. Who squeezed who in Baku since you are the expert?

            1. Right after a restart and in the middle of a bunch of cars, and exiting a turn, not in the middle of a straight.
              I may be no expert, but you way worse than me, for sure.

            2. you do just that when a silly rookie try to put his nose where it doesnt belong… If he let him into side of him, then what? they would crash at 310kmh! they are taking Eu Rouge at full throttle while going side to side, two drivers going there at full speed is asking for a naked dance with the wolves at night in the dark moonlight… it s just incredibly stupid not to wait for the straight! where it is a lot easier with slip stream and boast! i dont remember seeing any sane clever driver do it (trying to overtake) going into Eu Rogue with barely enough room for one driver at full throttle!

            3. Alonso and Webber managed it before @mysticus, sure Alonso is a different class, but do you think Perez consideres himself less than Webber? I don’t think so. He should have been more mature, and let Ocon make the mistake, if anything.

      2. In the 2nd incident, Ocon broke his front wing on Perez’ rear wheel. He wasn’t even alongside, he basically ran into the back of his teammate. If you want a comparision, it’s was like Sainz running into Stroll in Bahrain.

        The first incident was, in my view, a racing incident, but Perez is gracious enough to take the blame for that one. He suffered the most, lost several positions. After the tv-replay and the obvious violence in the colission, I decided to follow the Force India drivers closely, because that would be the battle of the day. Perez was quicker pretty much every lap of the race. He reeled in Ocon and managed to undercut him, despite a 5 sec penalty during the stop.
        Then the 2nd incident happened. To me it looked more like Ocon’s frustration than Perez’ ego.

        1. @Leo B

          Not only that, but what did Ocon think really, try an overtake midway through Eu Rouge? Even a single driver at ragged edge through Eu Rogue, and one twitch always ends at either side of the barriers! Everyone focused on Ocon’s overtake but forget how pointless and unnecessary it is as best overtaking spot coming right after few corners and at full speed!
          It is entirely Ocon’s fault for even trying that stupid move in the worst possible place… The kid is trying to prove himself, but if memory serves right, we know what happened to maldonado, and how Gro grove up after many pointless overtake attempts which almost ended his career!

          1. Indeed. Stefan Bellof tried it once and literally did not survive it.

        2. You might have seen Ocon try and lift off moments before Perez made contact?

        3. Perez wasn’t gracious in accepting blame for the 1st incident, that was deflecting, as he knew that one could be argued, and his teammate had a better start.

          1. Perez left very little room for deflection or arguments when he said: “I apologise for the incident at the start, which was totally my fault.” (direct quote from the teams press release)

    3. Perez is seriously damaging his reputation this season. And Ocon is a better driver, which is no doubt Perez’s real problem.

      1. He is falling back to habits from his rookie year, he is definitely not doing himself any favours at the moment.

      2. Yeah he is only standing 7th in the WDC, 9-2 on qualifying and unless he’s rookie team mate crashes into him he does a great performance in the race.

      3. “damaging his reputation”. What!! For defending his racing line. Ok!! Sounds like your opinion.

        1. You can’t defend your race line when the other driver is already taking it. Ocon actually had to lift/brake to avoid being put into the wall, which is why Pérez hit his front wing instead of his front wheel.

          1. No, he was wrong for toying with Barrichello’s life. He (and Barrichello) knew full well what he was doing and it had nothing to do with defending anything.

    4. These two remind me a little of a midfield version of Hamilton and Alonso in 2007…

      1. except that perez’s ego is larger than Hamilton’s and alonso’s multiplied together.

        1. Then with that kinda of Ego Perez chances of being champion some day look great. 😆

          1. Not with a Force India, where he is stuck for life after this season.

          2. he will never be a world champion in formula one.

            1. I’m saving this one for posterity.

    5. He’s never done that with any other team mates – I don’t know why he’s doing that with me.

      That’s one interesting point. Also I wonder, how much of it is down to either Ocon or Perez being responsible…. or Force India management failing to resolve it for a while.

      1. Force India’s management is between a rock and a hard place, let them race and this happens, attempt team orders and they ignore them.

        I suspect that Renault’s management is also watching closely, wouldn’t surprise me if Renault sign Ocon as Palmers replacement for next season.

      2. That’s my hunch as well, @praxis.

        There seems to be a communication breakdown in there. It might be ego, but something tells me it’s got more to do with OPM.

        In a team with limited resources like Force India, I’m going to believe that the drivers’ own staff is going to stir the pot.

    6. Perez wasn’t fired by McLaren after one year for no reason. He kept crashing into his teammate all the time back than as well. This year he almost reminds me of Maldonado at some points. He simply has a problem accepting his rookie team mate is the faster one in the races. Even though because of his experience and good qualifying ability Perez (bit like Webber or Trulli) ist mostly ahead in Quali come the race both fighting for the same position due to Ocons race craft. Not only since the recent driver rankings I think like Grosjean Perez is overrated way too often both are upper midfield drivers but never will be more than that.

      1. great post. grosjean and perez are over rated. perez is only in f1 due to the financial clout he brings through Carlos slim’s cash. time and time again this season perez’s ego has cost force India points, i’m objective enough to appreciate that it takes 2 to tango but that bring said today he was 100% at fault for the 2nd incident. he was also at fault in Canada. baku was less his fault.

        1. Great post? Well, one driven more by sentiment than by fact.

          Let’s compare Vettels and Perez’s season so far:
          Vettel is consistently (but not always) faster than his teammate and clearly maximizes the potential of his car. He brings home the results.

          Exactly the same can be said about Perez.

          There is a difference however. Where Raikkonen is clearly a number 2 driver, Ocon certainly is not. In fact, Ocon has now twice caused the retirement of his teammate.
          So the case could be made that if Vettel is rated on top of the “best drivers” rankings, Perez should be right up there as well. Since he isn’t, you can only conclude Perez is underrated as a driver.

        2. You guys are just plain stupid at this point, Perez has proved he is good enough for F1, outscored Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg, has seven podiums in midfield cars, out qualifying ‘future WC’ Ocon 10-2, best of the rest year after year and you keep claiming Perez is a useless pay driver.

          1. These euro fans used to say the same things of the non-european-mega-fast-gp-winner JP Montoya; I say to them: if you want an all european grid, change the name from Formula One, to Formula Europe, and the World Drivers Championship to Europe Drivers Championship.
            Back in the day they even dare to bash and underestimate the best driver in history the non european Ayrton Senna.

            1. Agreed it took years after his death for him to start getting credit world wide. He was not liked by the establishment either while racing.

              What kills me is how some Brazilians hate on Perez also.

    7. Why is Perez not penalized for the second one? Makes absolutely no sense to me!

      Did they even investigate it?

      1. I was surprised too, Perez clearly moved to push Ocon into the wall. It was investigated an deemed no action was required.

        I have no idea of Perez’s contract status, but if it is coming due and I was in charge of Force India I would be considering other drivers and the $ they may bring. The collisions IMHO have been more Perez’s aggressive behavior against a team mate who is faster. Today Ocon had newer tires and was charging.

        Force India is going to drop the hammer and make strong team orders and different stop strategies to keep them apart.

        1. I suggest Force India to look for another driver… Maybe Sainz Jr. will be a good choice?

      2. First collision was dangerous and the blame is entirely on Perez. But nothing happened, so no penalties for him.

        Regarding the second collision, Perez tried to defend Occon’s racing line, but he got late because the line was already occupied by Occon’s front wing. I think that is not considered “to be alongside”. Perez could have leave the space or Occon could have lift or brake, but none of them chose to do so, therefore it was a racing incident. Nonetheless I was happy with the aftermath. I don’t see “forcing someone to brake because you were late on defending the his racing line” as something sportsmanlike.

      3. They did – the investigation note appeared on screen about 5 laps after the crash. The stewards appeared to believe – as I do – that both drivers contributed substantially to their predicament in both cases. It is also possible they may have decided that they did not have any punishment in their toolbox that could plausibly be applied that was as severe as what both drivers were about to get from their teams (rule breaches where victim(s) and aggressor(s) are in the same team get a lighter penalty than those involving multiple teams, because in the former case the team is really punishing itself).

    8. Ocon just tweeted Perez is trying to kill him, I wonder if he is going to present charges against Perez, the stewards and everybody is against his car passing techniques….

    9. It’s a shame these two good drivers can not live together in the same team. Force India is an example for all small teams of how to make the most of poor resources. At this point of the championship it is difficult they lose his well earned 4 position.
      That, of course, if the drivers start behaving as teammates.

      1. Sviatoslav (@)
        27th August 2017, 20:19

        Perez started it in Canada. I do blame Ocon as well, but to a much lesser extent.

    10. Both are great drivers, I still believe for now that Perez is better (and regardless what the haters say, he has the upper hand results wise…), but their egos are damaging their team’s effort. These guys are forgetting the hundreds of people within FI who also play their part and put on a lot of effort and sacrifice, Perez and Ocon are selfishly making stupid decisions and ruining weekends. BOTH of them are. But if you are making statements behind a French or Mexican flag, you wont see it, as many fans seem to be expressing themselves lately.

    11. I’ve never liked Perez after he tried to say it was Kimi’s fault a Monaco. He was divebombing everybody and expected Kimi and everybody else to move over for him. Kimi held his line and sure enough…

      1. Then you might not like Ocon either since that’s exactly what happened today.
        One driver attempting an over optimistic pass and another driver protecting his line.

        Thanks for reminding us that great drivers protect their racing lines.

    12. Perez was mostly at fault, but Ocon has consistently shown that he doesn’t think. There is still a lot of GP2 in Ocon’s blood.

    13. Ocon is a snake, a very young snake, he just posted a nasty passive-agressive tweet in order to stay in the head of Perez, and he is doing it, it’s a mental battle, and he is winning it, Ocon is already living in Perez head.
      I wonder how deceitful he is going to get 10 years from now.

      1. You are right. I think Perez is actually an easy target for him as he responds exactly as Ocon wants: overly aggresive on track.

        The smiling assasin.

    14. Well,firstly,both incidents were fully Perez fault ..We have seen many many cars going side by side at Eau Rouge.Even if it was a risky move,it could happen,provided Perez was giving him any space…Im really surprised that Perez didnt get a 3 place grid drop for Monza…His driving today was really bad…Some days ago,Perez was saying thay he is angry that he doesnt get a change at a big team,but today he proved why…

    15. Amazed by how many here believe Perez was not guilty for the second incident. For those, I just say Webber-Alonso. That was racing. My 2c.

    16. I enjoy them fighting. Ocon is trying real hard, but Perez still wins in both races and qualy.

      I think Perez is an OK driver but still a pay driver and Ocon is an OK talent. Let’s see if Ocon is able to really catch up

      About the 2nd incident: it looked like what HAM did to RIC in Monaco last year but only at 300 km/h. That wasn’t considered over the line so maybe that’s what the stewards though now too.

      To me it was on the edge, or just over it

      1. In that incident though @anunaki, the stewards did investigate too, and found there was a carwidth space for Ricciardo, hence it wasn’t over the line – here, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all, but, well, I guess the stewards judged it to be on the line too, since they didn’t give a penalty. That surprised me.

        I do think that Ocon tweeting Perez was trying to kill him seems a bit over the top, and not very useful. Guess that ‘talk when moods are calmed down’ either didn’t happen, or didn’t go as he thought it would!

    17. The move Perez made it reminiscent of the move made by SM, on RB. I can’t remember the race but I remember the move. It was similar to his move on Hakkinen at Spa. Perez has learned the dirty tricks, from one of the best.

      1. You’re looking for Hungary 2010, I believe.

    18. Watching at full speed it might look as Perez fault for not steering more to the outside of the track, take a different race line and lift just a little to let the rookie pass…..
      Wait! What?

      To understand this incident one has to look at the whole picture, you see…the incident started before, and by before I mean Friday of this weekend, (not Baku as Perez said).

      Ocon got all excited finishing faster than Perez on Friday. Then Saturday came and Perez was not only faster on P3 but also finished faster in Qualy. Ocon’s frustration started to build up so he decided to make an excellent start and get in front of Perez on lap 1,….check.
      All good with the exception of the 3 wide racing incident where really no one was at fault. Not Perez even if he accepted 100% of fault on that.

      The 2nd incident started when Ocon asked …err… DEMANDED why Perez came to pits first? Pitwall was kind enough to explain the reason of their decision, and to add insult to injury Ocon heard over the radio on that explanation that Perez served a 5 sec penalty.
      So not only Perez undercut him, but did it while also serving a 5 second penalty!!!!… one could tell Ocon’ s frustration had reached the top, half lap later Ocon tries a stupid pass, had both cars gone side by side to the Eau Rouge the consequences at a much higher speed would have been much worse… so, who risked their life? Really…

      In summary, it was Ocon’s, frustration what caused the incident, followed by a stobborn driver who would not allow to be passed even if it is his team mate.

      Both need to be controlled by the Team from now on as clearly they cannot resolve their differences on track.

      Ocon said that he “would not accept to stay behind Perez just because he is the rookie and Perez is the experienced driver”…. so why would Perez had to accept other?

      1. Al last someone describe really what happen, think outside of the crash, all of this problem and the problem in Baku could be avoided if Ocon was more intelligent at the moment to decide where to overtake, no body in this race overtake a car the way Ocon tried, then why is Perez fault, the real problem is the driving style and the Ocon personality

        1. Very true. At this point Ocon looks to be too Angry for F1.

      2. Brilliant comment +1

    19. Doesn’t matter who is to blame for the 2nd incident in my opinion. Perez had the right to defend his position and take any line he wanted, but being team-mates he should have been more lenient, even though Ocon wasn’t in Baku where they actually were along-side.

      But the fact is Ocon acted like an unexperienced driver trying to pass before Eau-Rouge, because even if he got in front, he than had to defend hard in the long Camel straight. So why not take your time and pass your team-mate more safely (with DRS) on the straight?

    20. Carlos Sainz to Force India next year? ;)

    21. All I can say to this one is that Sergio and Esteban are lucky that I am not their boss. This is the 4th time they’ve crashed since Baku and they clearly cannot handle being near each other on track. I’d have benched the pair of them for Monza and put in two other people (probably rookies from F2 or GP3, at this short a notice), because I’m starting to doubt they’ll learn how to follow the cardinal rule of F1 vis-a-vis each other any other way.

      1. Yes I doubt if Ocon is exactly the guy Mercedes is looking to pair Hamilton or Bottas with ?
        He sometimes is almost as fast as Perez, however his hot head attitude has delegate him to 10-2 in qualifying and 8-2, also less points in race, therefore Perez is as a matter of fact whipping the floor with Ocon and getting him pshycologicallly defeat all over. Ocon make so many mistakes and crashes that Grosjean could hand the shrink number already.

    22. “Checo, Checo, what’s your problem Checo, what’s your problem? Me say alone ramp, me say alone ramp! *SLAMS DESK IN RAGE*”

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