Sergio Pérez will start seven grid spots lower than where he qualified at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos after the FIA Stewards rightly ruled that he was at fault for his first-lap collision with Sauber’s Adrian Sutil during Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.
The Force India driver was attempting to overtake Adrian Sutil at Turn 15 when he braked too late, tagging Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari before sliding into Sutil’s path. The contact saw Sutil eliminated on the spot with deranged front suspension, while Pérez managed to limp his car back to the pits with terminal front-end damage.
The stewards – which had former F1 driver Derek Warwick on its panel – reviewed the relevant telemetry, onboard and trackside footage, and quickly ruled that Pérez was completely at fault. The Mexican was issued with a hefty seven-place grid drop and handed two penalty points to his FIA Super License, which he will retain for the next twelve months.
The stewards said Pérez “could not reasonably have expected to complete the manoeuvre” on Sutil, describing the Force India driver’s actions as “reckless” in the circumstances.
“I made a move on Adrian at Turn 15 when he left the door open, so I went up the inside,” Pérez said of the crash.
“Then Adrian started to close the door and I had to try and brake later than him. By doing so I was unable to avoid contact with Kimi [Räikkönen], which caused me to make contact with Adrian also.
“I just didn’t expect Kimi to be in that position. It’s a big shame.”
The result was disastrous for Sutil, who had hoped he could break Sauber’s points’ duck after qualifying a season’s best tenth for Sunday’s race at the Circuit of the Americas.
“Unfortunately, it was a short race for me,” Sutil fumed afterwards.
“I had a good start and was in a promising position. Sadly Sergio crashed into my car, which was completely needless. It is very disappointing that we missed our biggest chance of points because of this move.”
Images via XPB Images