Tag Archives: Sergio Perez

Hamilton wins in Russia as Rosberg retires

Lewis Hamilton cruised to a dominant victory at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday, capitalising on his team-mates early retirement to extend his Championship lead and effectively shut down any potential designs Rosberg may have had on the Championship.

Rosberg had grabbed pole during Qualifying by an impressive three-tenths over Hamilton, having also lead the three practice sessions. In contrast to his embarrassing show at the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago when Hamilton robbed him of the lead into the first corner, Rosberg successfully maintained the lead through the first lap. Although Hamilton was looking somewhat dangerous in the German’s mirrors, any threat was neutralised when Nico Hulkenberg spun off at the second corner and collected the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson, throwing debris everywhere and prompting the Safety Car. While the two aforementioned racers clambered for their cockpit, Max Verstappen hobbled back to the pits with a rear right puncture.

With the track cleared the Safety Car pitted and Rosberg led Hamilton across the line. Bottas made a nice move on Raikkonen to reclaim the third place the Finn had taken from him on the first lap, while Hamilton couldn’t pass the Mercedes in front of him. He would not be stuck for long, however, as Rosberg came on the radio to report his throttle was getting stuck open. Losing control of his car through most corners, it was easy for Hamilton to slip past him – as did the rest of the points scoring drivers – before Rosberg crawled into the pits. The team assembled around his car and decided they could do nothing to recover Rosberg’s car and retired him from the race.

While Hamilton settled into the lead, Carlos Sainz – who 24 hours beforehand had been in a hospital bed following his big FP3 shunt – was making progress and passed Button easily to promote himself to eleventh. The next man to attempt to pass Button was Romain Grosjean, whose attempt resulted in him losing control in the slipstream, get onto the marbles on the fringe of the track which curves left and clout the barriers at a mighty rate of knots. His car spun several times out of the barriers and caused big superficial damage to the bodywork – but luckily the driver was completely okay. Nonetheless, a second Safety Car was needed to clear the debris – and some gaffer tape to repair the barrier!

Some drivers took the opportunity to pit for new tyres – but none of the top 8 drivers took this option. Hamilton complained off his tyres going too cold behind the Safety Car but had relatively little hassle from Bottas on the restart. As he stormed into the lead, the Ferraris were battling for P3. Vettel made a move on his team-mate into T2 which left Raikkonen cutting across the run-off area to avoid contact, and retaining his position. He moved aside later in the lap though to allow Vettel up to third, as Kimi had illegally kept the position.

Bottas was provisionally second but once he took his pitstop, he came out in eighth. When Vettel pitted two laps later he had successfully jumped the Finn and moved up to second, while Raikkonen emerged just behind the Williams. The two Finns began scrapping for position – a story which would last for the end of the race and end badly for both men. While Perez had held third place for a large chunk of the race, Bottas was hunting him down. It took him several laps to pass the Mexican but he finally wiggled his way up to the rear wing of the Force India and pulled an impressive overtake on Perez. Raikkonen followed the Williams through and demoted Perez to fifth as the Ferrari driver now targeted the Williams in his sights. With one lap left Raikkonen was closing but he pulled an extremely optimistic and amateurish dive on the inside of Bottas which sent Bottas spinning into the barriers and damaging Raikkonen’s car. While an ecstatic Perez drove through the collision and back into third, Bottas got on the radio to ask “what the f*ck” Raikkonen was doing.

Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz also retired just before the checkered flag. Ricciardo appears to have lost his brakes and pulled safely over, while Sainz also lost his brakes but spun backwards into the barriers – ironically at the same place as his shunt on Saturday – which damaged his car and ultimately proved terminal to his race. A fairly large fragment of his front wing was on the racing line after the incident which a brave marshal chose to clear – but this left him ducking out of the way of Vettel’s Ferrari as the German came around the corner and narrowly missed the volunteer.

Up front there were no real issues for Hamilton as he breezed across the line to secure his 42nd victory. Vettel crossed the line second while Perez gratefully accepted third place. Massa took fourth while Raikkonen finished fifth but will likely be moved down the order when a penalty is applied for his contact with Bottas. Kvyat, Nasr and Maldonado finished sixth, seventh and eighth while the two McLaren drivers secured points with ninth and tenth for Button and Alonso respectively. Verstappen was the first man outside the points while Bottas was classified as twelfth. Merhi and Stevens brought both Manor cars home for thirteenth and fourteenth, the last of the finishing drivers.

Provisional Race Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Sergio Perez
  4. Felipe Massa
  5. Kimi Raikkonen
  6. Daniil Kvyat
  7. Felipe Nasr
  8. Pastor Maldonado
  9. Jenson Button
  10. Fernando Alonso
  11. Pastor Maldonado
  12. Valtteri Bottas
  13. Roberto Merhi
  14. Will Stevens
  • Daniel Ricciardo
  • Carlos Sainz
  • Romain Grosjean
  • Nico Rosberg
  • Nico Hulkenberg
  • Marcus Ericsson

Image courtesy of Mercedes F1 Team

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Double Negative For Force India

Force India leave the Hungaroring this evening with a double retirement to reflect on, after both their drivers crashed out of the race.

Nico Hulkenberg spun himself out of the Hungarian Grand Prix after outbraking his VJM-07 in tricky conditions, before sliding into his team-mate. While Hulkenberg crashed into the barriers at turn 14, Perez displayed incredible car control to keep his car under control during the accident. Although he appears to have suffered slight damage in the incident, it was not terminal damage and he continued to race.

But then, just after the marshals had finished clearing Hulkenberg’s stricken car, Perez spun out of the same corner when he got a wheel on the wet grass which lines the circuit. Losing control, he crossed the track and smashed into the concrete barriers in front of the Mercedes and Red Bull pit wall.

After the race, a dejected Nico Hulkenberg reflected on the crash with his team-mate, and the lost potential from the Grand Prix: “It was not the best day in the office and I’m feeling very disappointed. The track was drying out and I was quite close behind Checo when I made contact with him at the final corner.  I made contact with his car, lost my front wing and went straight on into the barrier. It was my mistake and I’ve apologised to the team. It’s especially frustrating because there was a lot of potential in this race, but I guess it was one of those days when things didn’t go our way.”

Sergio Perez was similarly downbeat over his race as he too reflected on his early exit from the race, but he did temper this by saying that the positives from the Grand Prix will be focused on: “It’s a very disappointing end to our weekend, just when it looked like we could have scored some big points. I went a little wide on the exit kerb of the final corner, lost the rear and that was it – I was in the wall. It was a very unfortunate end to our race and I feel sorry for the team because they deserved some points today. Conditions were very difficult, the track was drying and improving, and it made you want to push to the limit, but there were some wet patches that could catch you out. We’ll take the positive elements of this weekend and get back in the points in the next race.”

Like Perez said, there are positives to be taken from the Grand Prix. The last race before the mid-term break is perhaps the worst time to have a double DNF as it leaves the team feeling dejected and unmotivated during what tends to be a critical time for car development. Indeed, the development on the RB9 and the changing in the construction of the Pirellis during last year’s summer break saw Sebastian Vettel win every Grand Prix afterwards. Force India must focus on the positives from the race, such as their points-potential, rather than the downside – that they lost some of their advantage to McLaren in the Constructors Championship as a result of the double DNF.

Image courtesy of Sahara Force India. 

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Contrasting Attitudes At Force India

Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg leave Austria with different outlooks after their respective result in this afternoon’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez had an uphill battle to get to the front following a five-place grid penalty for his part in a crash with Felipe Massa at the Canadian Grand Prix, which meant he started the race from sixteenth.

“Today we got a very positive result for the team, especially considering where we started the afternoon,” Perez said after the race. “When you start in 16th it is always going to be difficult to make up ground, but I had a very strong start and made up a good few positions.

“It was especially important to pass Jenson [Button] because he was on a similar strategy to mine: it was a key moment for my race. The strategy worked; we showed once more that we can manage the tyres well, and we had a very strong race pace, as we have had all year.”

Perez also led the race for several laps after the Mercedes and Williams drivers made their first pit stops, but he was eventually passed by Rosberg, Bottas and Hamilton before making his pit stop.

It was nice to be in the lead for a while, although we obviously knew that the cars behind us were on a different strategy. The only regret is that without the grid penalty I would have been further up the grid, which would have made a big difference because we had the pace to fight for a podium today.

“It’s nice to be back in the points after two disappointing races: the car is improving and we are in good shape,” Perez concluded.

In contrast to his team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg was less upbeat about his race result as he crossed the line ninth, having been overtaken by Daniel Ricciardo in a ballsy manoeuvre on the last lap.

“It was quite a tough afternoon and more difficult than I was expecting,” Hulkenberg admitted as he reflected on the Grand Prix. “Inside the car I was struggling with the balance quite a lot, which hurt our pace and also had an impact on the tyre wear. 

“So I think it was just a general lack of pace which stopped me from being able to get a better result. Checo [Perez] obviously had better race pace, even though he was on a different strategy, so we need to understand why that was the case.

“It’s good to continue picking up points and I had some good battles this afternoon, especially with Ricciardo on the final lap. I was fighting hard to keep him behind but he had a tyre advantage and I could not hold him off.”

Team owner Vijay Mallya had a more upbeat attitude and said that it was encouraging to see both cars finish the race in the points, and that the team have maintained their fourth place in the Championship. He praised Perez’s “mature” drive today and pointed out how consistent Hulkenberg has been, scoring points in all races this season so far.

The next Grand Prix is the British Grand Prix in Silverstone where the team are based.

Image courtesy of Sahara Force India.

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Perez Penalty To Be Reviewed By FIA

The FIA has announced that it will review the penalty handed to Sergio Perez after his crash with Felipe Massa at the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Williams’ Felipe Massa rear-ended Perez’s Force India on the final lap of the Grand Prix, sending both drivers into the barriers at turn one. Perez was deemed to have been at fault in the collision and was handed a five-place grid penalty for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Force India launched a social media campaign, trying to prove that their driver wasn’t to blame. Autosport is reporting that Force India offered further evidence on the collision, which they believe is related to the fact that stewards did not speak to Perez himself as he was undergoing medical tests after the crash.

After submitting a request to have the penalty reviewed, the FIA confirmed that they would review the controversial decision.

The incident will be reviewed at 9am on Friday morning, and if necessary, a further hearing will be held at 4pm to examine the penalty.

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The Push Continues For Force India

Force India boss Vijay Mallya says that his team is aiming to “ruffle a few feathers” towards the front of the grid, as he looks to continue the development race following his team’s strong showing at the Canadian Grand Prix.

“I am very proud of what the team has achieved so far, but by no means are we going to ease off at this point,” Mallya said while reflecting on the Canadian GP. “The development race is not going to stop: we are working hard to bring updates to the car and give our drivers an even better chance to score big results.

“Of course, we have shown a good level of consistency, being able to score in every race so far, and we want to continue to be able to ruffle a few feathers in the top spots.”

Although Sergio Perez crashed out of the Canadian Grand Prix on the final lap, Mallya takes solace in the fact that both cars had been very competitive to that point.

“Let’s not forget that Nico drove a brilliant race to score another ten points, but up until the last lap it looked like being an even sweeter result with both cars very well placed. Sadly it was not meant to be.

“The car, the team and the drivers performed admirably throughout the whole weekend. The VJM07 was very competitive; we got all the strategy calls right and we were on course for one of our best ever results.

“The accident for Sergio on the last lap took that away from us, but we should not forget the positives: our tyre management was excellent and we were able to race at the front and challenge for the win. It was one of our strongest races.”

Perez heads to the Austrian Grand Prix with a five-place grid penalty after the stewards deemed him responsible for the last lap crash in Canada.

Image courtesy of Sahara Force India.

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Perez Lashes Out At Pirelli As F1 And GP2 Times Overlap

Sergio Perez has lashed out at Pirelli and blamed them for causing drivers to be too conservative on laps, something he claims is “not good for the sport”.

Stephane Richelmi took pole position for the GP2 race with a fastest lap time of 1.29.293 – a time which would have put him ahead of Maldonado and the four Caterham and Marussia drivers on the grid for tomorrow’s F1 race.

“When you look at the difference with GP2 I think it’s a little bit embarrassing that the GP2 cars are so close to us with the budgets they have,” Perez said this morning. “Pirelli needs to be more aggressive on their compounds because on Sunday you will see a race where everyone follows each other and it will be just a boring race. It’s not good for the sport.”

“We have less downforce than last year but I think the compound effect is far too big. Pirelli is not helping us at all to be able to push and enjoy more the driving. I think they overreacted last year to the issues they had with tyre delaminations.

“I hope they will listen to us. All the drivers in the briefing we have are complaining we are sliding all the time and difficult to find any grip. I hope Pirelli reacts to this, listens to the drivers and the fans, and does something to have more interesting racing, because like this it will be a boring Sunday for the fans.”

Last year, Pirelli suffered a number of problems with their tyres, most notably at the British Grand Prix where three drivers, including race-leader Hamilton, suffered tyre explosions. Towards the end of the race, Perez also suffered one and he suffered a second delamination in Korea after Pirelli had reconstructed their tyres to make them safer.

However, Pirelli’s Motorsport director, was quick to rubbish Perez’s accusations, and said that Pirelli did not over-react to the tyre crisis last year, during which the drivers threatened to boycott races.

“We haven’t overreacted; we had to come into this year with a different approach,” Hembery said. “The cars are very different, a lot of wheel spin. It’s not as if we can change everything during the year.

“We managed a couple of test sessions and you’re not going to jump into a season with everything perfect with a brand new car. If we could change things through the year and had a choice of 12 compounds, you can do a whole lot of other things, but essentially you have three compounds to cover 50 degrees track temperature down to 15.

“Sometimes you’ll be compromised, sometimes, like today, you’re probably in the window where things are working better. That’s the nature of the business. 

“It’s pathetic as an excuse quite frankly,” the Briton concluded.

Pirelli were drafted in for 2011 to make races more exciting: previous supplier Bridgestone had tyres that were so durable, only one pit stop was necessary. However, fans and pundits alike have complained about the chess-like racing we have in contemporary Formula One, where a driver must seek permission to overtake another driver in case he hurts his tyres while doing so.

Image courtesy of Force India. 

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Hamilton Wins Thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix

Image courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team

Image courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team

Lewis Hamilton robbed victory from Nico Rosberg at the Bahrain Grand Prix, after a race long game of inches between the two Mercedes drivers. Although Rosberg started from pole, Hamilton took control at the first corner and led the race until a mid-race Safety Car benefited Rosberg and left Hamilton fighting to regain control – which he eventually did after some stunning overtakes from both drivers.

It was no surprise that Mercedes led the race as their dominance was evident all weekend. The real race lay with the battle for third, which belonged to Valtteri Bottas who qualified fourth but moved up to third after Ricciardo, who qualified third, was handed a ten-place penalty for a team mistake during a pit stop in Malaysia last weekend. So it was Bottas’ to lose – which he did at the race start. While the Mercedes duo stormed ahead, Felipe Massa jumped from seventh to third before the first corner after a lightning quick start in the Williams.

The entire field made it through turn 1 unscathed but Jean-Eric Vergne eventually became the first man to suffer damage when Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado tapped his rear right tyre at turn nine and caused a puncture for the Frenchman. This prompted Vergne to label Maldonado “absolutely mental” and claimed that “this guy tried to kill me” over his team radio. Kevin Magnussen also made contact with Kimi Raikkonen into turn 5 but neither driver took damage to their cars.

Third placed Felipe Massa was left fending hard against Force India’s Sergio Perez who was sniffing at third place. Despite the speed advantage, Perez couldn’t get past the experienced Brazilian. Further down the grid, Daniel Ricciardo overshot the first corner during an overtaking attempt on Kevin Magnussen and had to take to the run-off area. He subsequently battled Daniil Kvyat in the run up to turn 4, but Kvyat wasn’t too keen to pass his sister car and Ricciardo began to increase the gap to the Russian.

Valtteri Bottas was losing places as Jenson Button moved past the Finn into turn 2, who was then followed by Nico Hulkenberg. Eventually he pitted for a fresh pair of option tyres while his team-mate continued to battle Sergio Perez for third place.

Adrian Sutil became the second man, after Vergne, to leave the race when he was t-boned by Jules Bianchi into T1. They had made contact at T4 the lap before and when Bianchi braked later into the first corner, he saw his opportunity and dived – while Sutil was caught out and turned into the corner. He pulled over immediately while Bianchi was handed a drive-through penalty. Further up the grid, Red Bull told Vettel to move over for Ricciardo – which he did.

Back at the front, away from the other drivers, the Mercedes men were battling for the lead. Rosberg braked later than Hamilton into turn 1 but Hamilton swiped back in front at turn 2. Rosberg stayed on his tail until turn 4 where they battled out of the corner and Rosberg took control of the race – for a split second – as Hamilton swept back past his team-mate into turn 6. Real racing. Mercedes, not issuing team orders, pulled Hamilton into the pits later that lap and fitted Hamilton with the option tyres. Rosberg pitted two laps later and fitted the prime tyres, leaving both drivers on different strategies.

Bottas was third behind the Mercedes’, albeit far too behind the Silver Arrows to challenge for second. He was having enough trouble keeping Massa behind him as it was, but Massa was also trying to keep the Force Indias, led by Hulkenberg, behind him. Massa tried several times to get pass the Finn but couldn’t do so, but Bottas asked if he could pit earlier than originally planned, which would free Massa. The team brought him in and Massa sped into the distance, but Hulkenberg was firmly on his tail. Then, Massa pushed Hulkenberg towards the track limits on the run up to turn 4, which allowed Perez to sneak past his German team-mate, and it wasn’t long before Perez made it past the Williams too.

Daniel Ricciardo was battling the Ferraris and was on Raikkonen’s tail into T1 – perhaps too close, however, as he was caught out in the braking zone and nearly collided with Kimi. Valtteri Bottas caught the two a few laps later and did the same thing after overtaking Ricciardo, he went off track to avoid rear-ending the Ferrari in the braking zone. He finally passed his country-man a lap later, shortly before Massa moved past both Ricciardo and Raikkonen too. Simultaneously, Marcus Ericsson pulled over at turn 14 to end his race – reporting a “loss of power”.

Pastor Maldonado pitted for a new set of boots and when he rejoined the track, he was involved in yet another incident. He inexplicably dived up the inside of Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and the two cars touched tyres sending the Sauber upwards and flipping it twice. It was a terrifyingly fast and violent crash for the Mexican who remained silent and motionless in his cockpit for several seconds as he gathered his thoughts. Luckily, as the medical car arrived on scene, he began to climb from the cockpit. Maldonado was given a ten second stop/go penalty for the incident, and a five-place grid penalty for the next race in China – hardly a just penalty for such a dangerous move.

Screenshot courtesy FOM

Screenshot courtesy FOM

While the Safety Car was deployed, Kevin Magnussen ended his day prematurely.  The Safety Car may have bunched up the grid, but there was no way that anyone could hold onto the Mercedes who shot away into the distance. Rosberg was in the lead, the Safety Car benefitting his strategy, but Hamilton sweeped in at turn 1 to retake the lead. Despite this, he then reported that he had “no power”, a problem which seemed to vanish as slowly increased his gap to Rosberg.

The Force India’s squabbled for third, nine seconds behind the Mercs after three laps. Rosberg swept up the inside of Hamilton into turn 4 but, again, Hamilton regained the lead almost immediately. The next time they arrived at turn 1, he once again dived up the inside but he out-braked himself and fell behind again. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo moved up to P4 and set after Perez who was clinging onto the final podium place.

With two laps remaining, Button began slowing and the team called him into the pits – a sad way for him to end his 250th Grand Prix. Back on track, Vettel was fighting Massa on the run up to turn 4, pushing the Brazilian off track but still losing the place to Massa. Nonetheless, Vettel moved back ahead at turn 8.

At the front, Rosberg had lost steam as the tyres ‘hit the cliff’ and he crossed the line to win the Bahrain Grand Prix. Rosberg was a mere second shy of his team-mate as he followed him across the line. Sergio Perez came across the line in third to take Force India’s first podium finish since Giancarlo Fisichella took second at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.

Provisional Race Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Sergio Perez
  4. Daniel Ricciardo
  5. Nico Hulkenberg
  6. Sebastian Vettel
  7. Felipe Massa
  8. Valtteri Bottas
  9. Fernando Alonso
  10. Kimi Raikkonen
  11. Daniil Kvyat
  12. Romain Grosjean
  13. Max Chilton
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Kamui Kobayashi
  16. Jules Bianchi
  17. Jenson Button (DNF but completed more than 90% race distance)
  • Jenson Button
  • Kevin Magnussen
  • Esteban Gutierrez
  • Marcus Ericsson
  • Jean-Eric Vergne
  • Adrian Sutil

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