Image source: formula1.com
June 14th 2017
Sergio Perez is blaming the media for blowing Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix duel with teammate Esteban Ocon out of all proportion and claiming that he ignored team orders.
As the Mexican hunted down third-placed Daniel Ricciardo, he had Ocon just behind.
On tyres that we 13 laps fresher, the Frenchman believed he had more chance of passing Ricciardo than his Mexican teammate.
While the team continually advised Perez that Ocon thought he had more chance of passing the Red Bull, adding that if unsuccessful he would hand the place back, the Mexican continued to hold off his eager young teammate.
In the end, as Perez focussed on thwarting the best efforts of Ocon, Sebastian Vettel took advantage and nailed the pair with a couple of do-or-die manoeuvres.
Though Force India insists Perez was never given a direct order to move aside for his teammate, it admits lessons have been learned, team co-owner Vijay Mallya tweeting: "Our policy of no team orders continues but I will specify guidelines to achieve best team result".
Indeed, deputy team principal Bob Fernley has since admitted that the team may need to revise its policy to suit the circumstances.
Perez remains defiant however, insisting that he was never directly ordered to yield to his teammate.
"The problem is that the press has created these stories," he told Motorsport.com, "I've never disobeyed an order.
"All we had was a discussion about whether to let Ocon pass me," he continued. "But I increased my speed and approached Ricciardo and that was it. At no time did I ignore my team.
"I am here to give the best results to Force India and if I get an order, I will follow it," he insisted. "But here, there was no order."
Amidst talk of a rift between the 'Pink Panthers', he said: "All is well between Ocon and me. I think everyone on the team feels there is a good atmosphere, especially after an excellent result and on a weekend where we were as competitive as we were.
"We should be happy," he added, "because we added 18 points... the same amount as Ferrari. Our rivals did not add much, so we should be happy and not focus on stories that I didn't respect team orders, because there were none."
Referring to his eager young teammate, he added: "I think it's good that Esteban is at that pace. I think it's important for the team that Esteban keeps doing a good job. I'll keep doing my thing."
News source: pitpass.com
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