Sergio Perez was dramatically denied a top-four finish in Sunday’s seventh round of the 2014 F1 World Championship after an action-packed final lap in Canada.
The Sahara Force India driver saw his race end in dramatic fashion when he was involved in a collision with the Williams of Felipe Massa at the start of the final lap. The accident sent both Perez and Massa crashing at high-speed into the safety barriers, and allowed Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to drive unchallenged to the chequered flag and claim his first Grand Prix victory.
Perez had driven a fine race prior to the incident, taking his Silverstone-based car from 13th to second before he was passed by both Red Bulls in the final stages.
The Mexican has been given five-place grid penalty for the next race in Austria following the accident with Massa, but he refuses to take the blame, saying: “It was very disappointing to lose such a strong result through no fault of our own.
“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.”
A Williams team official suggested that Perez’s car was ailing and should have been retired by Force India, but Perez hit back at that claim: “I’m not happy about comments saying we should have retired the car.
“It was perfectly driveable with just some adjustments and we showed it up until the moment we were taken out. 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.”
Nico Hulkenberg continued his 100 per cent record of finishing every race this season with fifth in Montreal.
At the wheel of the second Sahara Force India-Mercedes, Hulkenberg found himself right in the mix for a strong points haul as the race neared its conclusion.
The German said: “Again this is a great result for me and the team. The race was the best of the season for spectators and it was good to be involved with the battle towards the front.
“I think, if I had enjoyed more luck, then a podium could have been possible today, but fifth is good and I’m happy with my points.”
Jean-Eric Vergne scored points for the first time since Australia by finishing the race in eighth for the Bicester-based Toro Rosso squad.
Driving one of the team’s STR9-Renault cars, Vergne ran strongly throughout the race and said: “It was good to be back in the top 10 again. The team did a great job and despite some drivers experiencing problems out there, I found my car to be good.”
Nineteen-year-old Russian, Daniil Kvyat, was forced out of the race in his Toro Rosso on lap 47.
The youngster said: “This was not my best weekend of the season and I was never really in a position to score points. I have to now look forward to the next race and try and score points in Austria.”
Standings: 1. Rosberg (Mercedes) 140; 2. Hamilton (Mercedes) 118; 3. Ricciardo (Red Bull) 79; 4. Alonso (Ferrari) 69; 5. Vettel (Red Bull) 60; 6. Hulkenberg 57. Next race: Austria, June 22.