Force India Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez says his team-mate’s second move during the Belgian Grand Prix was “optimistic”, and refuses to take blame for the coming-together, despite accepting blame for the Lap-1 clash.
The two came together whilst running in the points during Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, which was not the teams first controversial coming-together, most notably they collided during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with the team giving up at least one podium finish.
Both incidents took place on the run down to Eau Rouge. In the first incident, which took place on the opening lap, Perez forced Ocon into the wall — who surprisingly got away — and the Mexican driver has taken full responsibility for the first run-in.
However, in the second run-in, where most notably pundits and Force India’s team boss has laid blame on Perez, the Mexican driver refuses to accept blame, claiming that the French rookie was “optimistic”.
“The first one was 100 per cent my fault.” said Sergio Perez, talking to Sky Sports F1 after the Belgian Grand Prix.
“I have to accept that one and I put my hand up for that one. My mistake came at the start. I selected the start too late and I didn’t have the right mode for that so I had 50 per cent less power. I totally didn’t see him at all him at all.
“The second incident I think Esteban was really optimistic there because there was no room for two cars. He had the whole straight to do the manouvere so it’s a shame that we touched. We ruined our race.”
However, Esteban Ocon doesn’t share the same views of his team-mate, and says that he would still let his team-mate off during the first incident, however labels his second move as “dangerous”
“The first incident, I accept it even if I think he saw me in the mirror. We were three wide, but I accept that one even if he squeezed me into the wall and that’s very dangerous and not professional.
“But the second one is one too much. What is the point of doing that? He just squeezed me into the wall at 300kph risking my life, risking his life, for no reason and costing a lot of points for the team. He’s supposed to be a professional driver and he didn’t show it today.”
Following the points lost thus far in the 2017 Formula 1 season, Force India’s team boss Otmar Szafnauer has made it clear that his drivers will no longer be allowed to race.
“I only saw what you saw [on TV], but it looked like Sergio squeezed Esteban into the wall and came out the loser of that scrap,” Szafnauer told Sky Sports.
“In the future they’ll never have that opportunity again. We’ve let them race up until now. If they can’t do it in a manner which is good for the team, then they won’t be racing anymore.
“They shouldn’t be coming together. We’ve given them the latitude to race and I’ve always said that.
“We’ve told them if it happens again, if a Baku-type incident happens again, then we’ll be calling the race from the pitwall in the future.
“If we stay fourth it will cost us nothing, but it’s definitely cost us points.”