REUTERS - Mexican Sergio Perez has hit back at Williams and Brazilian Felipe Massa after they accused him of dangerous driving in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Perez and Massa crashed on the last lap of the race in Montreal after the Brazilian, who was lapping faster on fresher tyres, smashed into the back of the Force India while trying to take fourth place.
Race stewards decided Perez had changed his line and handed him a five place grid penalty for the next race in Austria, a punishment the Mexican was clearly reluctant to accept.
“It was very disappointing to lose such a strong result through no fault of our own,” he said in a statement issued through his team.
”I was following the same line and braking patterns as in the previous laps and I just got hit from behind by Massa. There was plenty of space on the left of my car to attempt a clean overtake and I cannot understand why he had to scrape by.
“I watched several replays of the incident and I can’t help but notice how Felipe turns right just before he hits me. I can only think he must have changed his mind and wanted to rejoin the racing line, his misjudgement cost us a big amount of points.”
Massa, who piled heavily into the barriers, said afterwards it was lucky he was not seriously hurt and the Mexican needed to learn how to behave.
“I talked to him at the medical centre. I was so disappointed with him,” the Brazilian said. “I said that he needs to learn. I wanted him to put himself in my place, because I had a huge crash and honestly I thought it was going to hurt.”
Rob Smedley, Williams’s head of vehicle performance, also told reporters that Force India should have retired Perez after he reported brake problems.
“They told him to carry on if he could, and if you can’t then to pit, which seems to me to be a fairly terminal problem,” he said. “Why you leave a car out when you’ve got that sort of problem is beyond me.”
Perez, whose Mercedes-powered team are currently fourth overall and just 10 points behind third-placed Ferrari, rejected the suggestion that his car should have been retired.
“It was perfectly driveable with just some adjustments and we showed it up until the moment in which we were taken out,” said the Mexican, who held second place until the closing laps.
“Other cars out there had been in similar conditions for way longer than us and they finished the race without problems. If someone thinks you can keep two Red Bulls behind for as long as we did with so-called ‘terminal’ problems, they are clearly misguided.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Martyn Herman