Sergio Perez has defended himself in the face of criticism from former World Champions Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen after several incidents during the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Mexican tangled early on with team-mate Button in a chilling repeat of their heated Bahrain encounter, and left the Englishman frustrated after he skipped the Nouvelle and Swimming Pool chicanes twice in his bid to keep Button behind him. The 2009 World Champion complained to his pitwall that his McLaren stablemate was gaining an unfair advantage and the FIA decided Perez had to let Button through.
Later in the race Alonso was the target of Perez’s attentions as he attempted to force his way past the Ferrari, running both men off the road with an optimistic out-breaking move at Nouvelle; this time the stewards ruled in favour of the McLaren despite Alonso’s protestations that he had only just avoided an accident.
The most verbal response to the Mexican’s reckless charge through the field was to come from Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen after Perez made contact in the same breaking area with the left rear of the Finn’s machine; this time he did not get away scot free and sustained front wing and break duct damage that eventually ended his race. Nor was Raikkonen unharmed and, after running strongly for most of the race in 5th, the ‘Iceman’ was forced to pit for running repairs and eventually wound up 10th.
Raikkonen later claimed “…[talking to him] won’t help. Someone should punch him in the face.”
“Perez, he has the car parked there in the Rascasse and that is the only comment I can say.” added Alonso.
“He was lucky this year with two or three incidents. In Bahrain, he nearly had contact with Jenson, and with me I was off the track to avoid a contact.”
“He made a good move when he overtook me, so fair play to him.” said Button.
“At the start of the race he went over the chicane, and it doesn’t matter who it is – if they go straight on you’re going to radio it in.”
Nevertheless, Perez insists he is not at fault for what happened during the Grand Prix.
“Kimi put me straight in the wall at the entry to the corner. It was really, really a big shame. I overtook Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, and Jenson overtook me there. You have to give some space.”
McLaren have confirmed Perez’s eventual retirement from the race was break failure caused by damage from his collision with Raikkonen.