Sergio Perez insists his controversial collision with Sergey Sirotkin at the Singapore Grand Prix was down to a misjudgement in the distance between the cars rather than aggression.
After qualifying seventh on the grid, Perez’s race started to unravel when he got stuck behind Sirotkin’s slower Williams after his pit stop. He finally attempted an overtaking move on lap 27, but as he passed the Williams between Turns 17 and 18 he cut across Sirotkin and the two made contact.
It was not clear from the outside if the collision was deliberate, but Perez had been critical of Sirotkin’s driving over the team radio in the laps leading up to the clash, making it appear as though it was an act of revenge. Perez was giving a drive-through penalty and accepted culpability for the incident, but insists it was nothing more than a mistake.
“I’ve obviously seen it, and in my opinion, it looks a lot worse from the outside because basically I lost… with these mirrors, it’s very hard to see behind, so I lost the reference,” Perez explained. “I thought I already did the move on the first corner, and I was speaking on the radio at the point that I saw him, and then I just misjudged where he was.
“I was trying to close the door before braking, but he was just too close. It was just my fault. I got the penalty which I think was quite right. Nothing to say really other than accepting my mistake.”
Perez says he is willing to accept criticism for the mistake but has no time for suggestions it was a deliberate collision.
“It’s the way it looked from the outside, but I ruined my race. I wouldn’t have done it on purpose. That’s it. When you do something wrong, you have to just accept the criticism and just look forward.”
As for the radio messages prior to the accident, Perez added: “I was obviously very frustrated because we had a great qualifying, and given our strategy, we lost a lot. But that has nothing to do with the incident.
“I was complaining to Charlie [Whiting, FIA race director] because he was moving quite a lot under braking, which is not ideal. It can cause collisions when you’re moving under braking, but I think it was a bit too much moving under braking at the time.
“But that has nothing to do with the incident. The incident was not his fault, it was my fault. But he was moving a bit too much under braking.”