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.
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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