Sergio Perez, Force India, Singapore, 2018

No indication Perez hit Sirotkin deliberately – Whiting

2018 Singapore Grand Prix

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FIA race director Charlie Whiting says he doesn’t believe Sergio Perez intended to hit Sergey Sirotkin in the incident which led to Perez receive a drive-through penalty.

Whiting, who can refer incidents for to the stewards for investigation but does not rule on them, said his interpretation of the collision was that Perez misjudged how close he was to the Williams.

“I haven’t spoken to him, nor are the stewards as far as I’m aware, but it’s hard to believe that a driver would actually intend to hit a car,” said Whiting.

“He’d been trying hard to get past Sirotkin and he looked a little bit frustrated. And I just think he misjudged how far he was in front of him because obviously you saw how closely they were racing all the way through [turn] 14, 15, 16, 17, and I think he just misjudged it.”

Perez, who also collided with team mate Esteban Ocon earlier in the race, said he was trying to “close the door” on Sirotkin.

“It was hard racing, he was defending his position very hard, battling hard, moving under braking,” said Perez. “I had a lot of lock-ups just at the end of braking. And then as I was going through him I tried to close the door but I think he was too close there.”

“I have to see the incident but I probably closed the door earlier than I should so I have to double-check but I think it was fair, the penalty,” he added.

There were harsher penalties available to the stewards, Whiting pointed out, including a 10-second stop-go penalty, which was given to Sebastian Vettel when he was found to have deliberately hit Lewis Hamilton’s car during a Safety Car period in last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

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“They could have given him a 10-second stop-and-go penalty and the next step would have been a black flag,” said Whiting.

“The Safety Car was out in Baku so you could say it wasn’t… I wouldn’t say safer, but less likely to cause a big accident than when you’re travelling at racing speeds. But that’s a decision the stewards took, presumably they took that into account.”

Whiting rejected Perez’s complaint that Sirotkin had unfairly changed his line in the braking zone.

“The team asked us to look into it, he complained about this happening in turn seven and turn 14. We didn’t see anything that gave us any trouble.

“He complained again and we looked again, frankly he simply wasn’t close enough. Sergey was maybe just being circumspect and moving over to the right going into turn 14 but as they were approaching the corner just moved slightly left.

“It wasn’t as if Sergio was really close, he was a good distance back. So I just said to them he’s going to have to get a lot closer if we’re going to start looking at exactly what [Sirotkin] was doing under braking. It really wasn’t an issue for us.”

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37 comments on “No indication Perez hit Sirotkin deliberately – Whiting”

  1. A lot of the cars jink out along the straights – presumably avoiding bumps or street furniture and stuff – and it wasn’t unreasonable to think he had taken the Williams. I honestly think his penalty was too harsh, I believe it was a racing incident. However apart from his moment with Hartley, Sirotkin did well I thought – you can see his fight back from overtakes (Hartley incident aside) shows a good racer stuck in that car.

    1. Check the replay, he looks to the left and runs into Sirotkin, he should have been black flagged.

      1. @thierryvth +1 The fact Whiting finds it hard to believe isn’t really an adequate response. It’s the same kind of swipe made by Vettel against Hamilton at Baku, only magnified. They’ve come taken the corner level and parallel with Perez edging ahead. So he knew exactly where Sirotkin was and how far back. It can only be a deliberate shove into him.

        1. Checked again. At the apex they’re level, Perez has full view and awareness of where Sirotkin is and their relative pace. It’s incomprehensible that Whiting and/or the stewards would think Perez didn’t know that he hadn’t cleared Sirotkin and so swerving left would strike him.

        2. I’m a big fan of Perez, and he seems very mature, but he needed to hit the showers after that. That was worse than Vettel hitting Hamilton at Baku, although since that was under SC, it was also quite aggravated. Perez simply tried to bully Sirotkin to the inside and make the corner hopeless for him, because the next corner has only one possible line, but Sirotkin was not obliged to jump out of the way. If he wanted to ease the Williams over and make it impossible for him to make the corner unless he followed Perez, he could have done that instead of slashing over like that.

        3. They’ve come taken the corner level and parallel with Perez edging ahead.

          Exactly. It’s not like Sirotkin took a switchback line and got a better exit, they were side by side for the previous corner, and Perez would’ve known his there. Cynical, ridiculous, and dangerous. At least Vettel at Baku was very slow speeds under the SC, this was at racing speed (sure they weren’t going incredible fast, but still, fast enough). No idea how he hasn’t got a much more severe penalty.

          1. I think a lot of Pérez frustration was due to the incompetent strategist Force India has. A talent like Pérez the car is best of the rest and this person makes a mess of it.

            That and Perez once again denied a Ferrari drive probably got to him.

            Pérez was in rare form but he is an amazing F1 talent.

            Oh! And Ocon once again trying to bully Pérez. Terrible day at the office for Checo.

      2. I can’t find a decent replay, but I think with the amount of people saying the same thing, I can take it that you are correct on trust!

    2. I am sorry but there was no way that was a racing incident. Sirotkin was driving in a straight line and Perez inexplicably pulled off the racing line and hit him despite looking to the left before he did so! And to say he got a harsh punishment is atonishing! Sirotkin almost crashed into someone by not being able to turn his badly damaged car and he got a 5 second stop and go. Perez smashes into Sirotkin and gets a drive through with no stop and go… I think Perez got off lightly to be honest and hes seems to have either bad anger issues or is blind…

  2. If you take Perez’s comments over previous laps and his increasingly erratic driving to try to get past, then I’d say theres plenty of indications that he jinked over out of frustration.

    He thought he’d finally got past, but Sirot came back at him, Perez lost it and clearly lashed out.

  3. “Perez misjudged how close he was to the Williams”. Really? Wow, just let that sink in for a moment… that’s your racing director. Then I suggest you scrap all penalties given earlier this year and put them in the ‘the driver simply misjudged’ category. So ‘intention’ is now the factor apparently? How can you let this kam be the racing director. He is all over the place with his views. Over and over again. A relic of the old boys network.

    1. It indeed wasn’t Perez’ intention to hit Sirotkin, he just had the misfortune to find this troublemaker Sirotkin on his way! How on earth could Sirotkin decide to maintain his line when Perez hit into him, what was he thinking???? :)

      1. Sarcasm?? Just asking.

        1. Missed the smiley? ;)

          It’s totally crazy! While it is of utmost importance that drivers don’t pull stuff like Perez did, Whiting dares to speak of ‘intentions’. Whether or not it was intentional, anybody lacking the sense of presence around his car like Perez did yesterday -assuming it was unintentional- doesn’t belong on the grid. That’s the whole point about getting a superlicense being so hard.

          But now Whiting is apparently suggesting that once you have the license you can loosen up and get away with ‘it wasn’t my intention’??

    2. @mayrton I’m not sure what you’re finding so troublesome. Surely you should separate penalties that were racing mistakes and deliberate actions endangering the drivers / marshals. Intention to drive into another car is obviously quite important point to consider when deciding the kind of penalty it should be and that’s the point Whiting is making.

      To me it looked like it was an intentional move, although I’ve not seen onboard footage to decide better. I’m guessing Whiting had a look and it didn’t look intentional to him, although he didn’t penalise Vettel in Baku when it was clearly intentional…

      1. I do think there is a difference between intent and mistake. However mistakes should be punished under the appropriate rules as we expect. Intent should be punished with disqualification from the championship. We should not be lighter on the rules because someone didn’t mean to crash…

        And yes I agree that it looked intentional.

  4. Biggest indication of a driver being at fault – Accepting a penalty “as fair”. He knows he got off LIGHT and he is grateful for it.

    I still rate Sergio, but he needs to keep his cool. Whiting needs to give his eyes a rub and use a bit of racing gumption for these kind of incidents, though. Just like Vettel in Baku, if we keep dismissing these as “misjudgements” and “bouts of frustration”, the line which shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to racing etiquette will just keep nudging further and further into the danger zone…

  5. The only way this wasn’t intentional if if Perez got sudden wheel spin that sent him sideways – and that’s not what it looked like. Classic case of wires getting crossed out of anger and not the first time for Perez in past couple of seasons. Poor form on Whiting not to sanction that properly, seems that perhaps keeping the sport’s image clean is more important than consistent arbitration.

    1. Agree with that too yeah. I have really liked Perez so far, but I think he just lost his temper completely from a combination of feeling bad about barging out Ocon – causing his team to lose a shot at points – and being stuck behind Sirotkin for so long.

      Just as inexcusable as Vettels rage moment in Baku last year. IMO both should have gotten far less lenient reaction from the stewards.

    2. It appears that everyone but Charlie thought it was too intentional. I believe that Ocon’s incident was intentional too.

      Sad to see Checo do these kind of things. Ultimately his rivalry with Ocon will be one of the highlights of his career and he needs to be a good sport about it.

  6. I think they’re going too far with interpretations to the point they’re checking the drivers intentions now. Maybe they should use a lie detector device. Perez not being given a proper penalty is beyond me. Even if he didn’t do it on purpose, he should have been penalized harshly anyway in order to learn how to use his mirrors. He was already frustrated and said it on the radio “Guys do you really want me to crash”.
    I don’t know why we always see this stuff from the same drivers (Perez,Magnussen,Grosjean…) who seem to have learned nothing even though they are already experienced. Thanks heaven Ferrucci still didn’t make it to F1.
    I think the FIA are also contributing to this because we haven’t seen dangerous driving punished properly.
    Do the steward have the right to give a driver (not talking about Perez but in general) for example a 10 penalty points for one incident ?

    1. I don’t think a lie detector would be fair @tifoso1989, we already know Hamilton can’t pass the test

      1. @johnmilk
        +1 You have made my day. Hahaha

    2. @tifoso1989 No. The most they can give is 5 penalty points, and that is only possible if it is accompanied by a race ban/black flag. Otherwise, 3 is the maximum that can be given for the same incident. (However, Perez was involved in two incidents, meaning that he could have been given 6 points had he been adjudged at fault for both crashes without getting a race ban or black flag).

  7. Perez onboard cam can solve all this discuss, hope to see it soon !!!, so if Perez just moved left his steering wheel i would say it’s DC ! How can you “close the door” and “i didn’t saw him” when there was a fight for some laps ! Didn’t watch mirrors ? OK – DC, Have watched mirrors but did mistake ? OK – DC, Your move wasn’t accidently or a mistake ? OK – DC !

  8. Charlie Whiting and by association the FIA are making themselves look like fools with this ruling and explanation. If Perez was a 17 year old who just got his license, had a car full of friends and was texting someone I could see where Whiting may want to show a little leniency. But Perez is a professional who’s been driving at the highest level for years and the car goes where he wants it to go and in this case it was into Sirotkin’s car. In my opinion the penalty was far to light as I feel at minimum Perez should have been black flagged and given a 1 race ban. Some things should never be condoned and using a car as a weapon of revenge is one of them.

    1. Agreed, To me that looked very much like a deliberate act.

    2. Absolutely agree. The instant I saw it, and then on subsequent replays I couldn’t believe what I’d seen. It was deliberate, they were side by side and Perez absolutely knew where his competitor was and deliberately swiped right into him. It’s pathetic. A race ban for sure. As much as I’m.a Ferrari fan of Vettel had gotten similar punishment last year I could not have argued either.. they need to sort this out before something terrible happens.

    3. Moronic to think Perez want it to take the risk of finish his race by crashing Sirotkin, you most been listening to much to the bias Sky comentators, Perez was just to eager to get pass that’s all, not using his car to kill people as you suggest …

  9. I don’t understand Whiting. That was as clear as daylight, perhaps he didn’t know he would come out worse off, but he tried to force him to back off, like he did to Ocon Spa 2013, and both instances, rear puncture.

  10. At first watch I wasn’t sure whether it was deliberate or accidental. But having seen it a few times, I think he was try to cut across to secure the inside line and totally miscalculated how far ahead he was. So a stupid mistake, but not malicious.

  11. So obvious this was intentional. Reminds me of some people in Gran Turismo Sport online races..

  12. My take on the Perez-Sirotkin incident isn’t too dissimilar to Whiting’s. I suspect that Perez had worked himself into such a frenzy that what he likely intended to be a chop across the nose of Sirotkin was executed far too early, and dangerously. However, what jumps out at me from Whiting’s comments is his analysis of the Vettel-Hamilton bash last year.

    Whiting seems to be considering the fact that the Vettel-Hamilton incident happened behind the safety car as a mitigatingfactor, where I had always thought of it as an aggravating factor. If there’s a hazard somewhere on track of sufficient significance to warrant a safety car intervention, then a further incident has greater more potential for catastrophe. Its the same rationale for forbidding overtaking under yellows, or behind the safety car. I’d always assumed that the powers that be would take a dim view to any shenanigans under an SC or under a yellow, but perhaps my understanding has been flawed all along.

  13. I’ve got a pass to Sochi pitlane and a bottle of popular perfume. :-)))

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