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F1 Azerbaijan GP - Perez - Ocon crash cost me the win in Baku

F1 Azerbaijan GP - Perez - Ocon crash cost me the win in Baku

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    June 26th 2017

Sergio Perez was left fuming over a potential maiden Formula 1 race victory after crashing with his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon having seen how the race unfolded in dramatic circumstances.

The Force India driver made an impressive start and after Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen clashed at turn two, while Max Verstappen retired with an engine issue, he found himself battling for third with team-mate Ocon.

After a second safety car restart on lap 20, both Force Indias were all over the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel – himself caught up in an earlier clash with Lewis Hamilton – but at turn two Ocon appeared to squeeze Perez on the inside which gave the Mexican driver nowhere to go and the pair locked wheels.

Both limped back to the pits but Perez was ultimately forced to retire late on due to damage while Ocon produced a solid recovery drive to finish in sixth place.

Perez was incensed at his post-race media debrief and says given the Hamilton and Vettel issues later on he felt he had the pace and track position for a maiden F1 win.

“We were really close to the win today with all what happened afterwards we could've won today,” Perez said. “We definitely had everything to be on the first step and I was doing a great race.

“I'm very, very sad for my team because they've done a fantastic job working so hard and at the end of the day we are just end players. The drivers are only a part of the team and we have to work the same and we cannot be doing these types of incidents between us.

“We ruin a great opportunity for the team and frankly I feel I couldn't have done anything to avoid the accident, I was next to the wall and there was no room for me to go.”

Perez has called Ocon aggressive for his part in the clash, after the pair sparked controversy over potential team orders in Canada last time out, and says as it was between team-mates the collision was unacceptable.

“It was all very aggressive, in all my career I've had teammates I've fought really hard but always with enough room not to do what happened today,” he said. “I think what happened today is not acceptable for the team."

Ocon has confirmed the matter will be dealt with inside the team but in his version of events he says he was hit by Perez at turn one before their major incident and felt he had the inside line ahead of his team-mate.

“Obviously it's never nice to get an incident like that in the race and in the end me and Checo lost a lot of places,” Ocon said. “We'll discuss it internally and see what happened especially after turn one, and I was on the inside for turn two. We touched again.

"Unfortunately, it's racing, it happens sometimes but we'll see. We're annoyed for what happened really.”

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