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Perez blames media for team orders talk

NEWS STORY
14/06/2017

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."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Pavlo, 16/06/2017 9:18

"We don't hear all the communications, so there is no reason not to trust Perez that there were no direct orders.
Yes, I know the problem with downforce and engine overheating, but one lap would definitely do no harm, and I still can't see how Ocon was going to overtake Ricciardo if he was not able to get closer to Perez. It's totally ok for the team to say "don't hold him if he overtakes", and then ok for Perez to stay in front, because the gap was big.
I think it's a bit bad, that some pilots say something over the radio and stay comfortably behind without efforts, and then claim that they definitely were able to overtake and get the podium. Let's be honest - this is not about "the definite podium", it was all about the small possibility of getting there, because overtaking Ricciardo and keeping that position was still a huge challenge."

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2. Posted by Jean-Pierre, 15/06/2017 21:04

"Ocon did not get to close to Perez because it would have caused his engine to overheat. Look at the lap times and you'll see he was faster, even slowed down by Perez. This is obviously a case of a giant ego costing a podium to the team."

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3. Posted by Spartacus, 15/06/2017 16:44

"First off I think that most of Pavlo's comment is correct however, the cars have a ton of downforce creating a huge aero wash behind them so Ocon's gap to Perez was a managed one. It seems that Ocon was not going to cause or press at all to avoid a collision. It is hard to judge since Ocon did not have a huge gap that he closed leading up to the PER blocking incident. As a race director, I would have allowed Ocon a chance to get by and pass RIC, if he couldn't he should have let Perez slot back into his original spot. For some reason I think this is too much team direction however."

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4. Posted by Pavlo, 15/06/2017 9:43

"Thing is, Ocon was not close enough. He got close only in the last 2 laps (after Vettel's overtake), and obviously it was too late to attack Ricciardo and the rule "he tries or gives back the position" didn't apply. So of course Perez defended.
Ocon should have got same close to Perez 10 laps before, then Sergio would have let him overtake. But the gap was big, so if he can't get close enough to Perez, how was he going to attack Ricciardo? Also what was the sense for Perez to slow down and lose the DRS from Ricciardo - instead Ocon should have pushed to overtake and stay within the DRS zone."

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5. Posted by Jean-Pierre, 14/06/2017 19:59

"It was so bad that I believe he lost any chance he might have had to go to Ferrari. Total lack of sportsmanship."

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6. Posted by Kate in California, 14/06/2017 16:18

"Perez can blame the media if it makes him feel better, but when Ocon finally had a go coming into the final chicane with just a few laps to go, it wasn't the media that made a sharp and agressive move to block his teammate. Perez had a few dozen laps to make something happen, and he failed. If not for Perez' stubbornness and oversized ego, Ocon may have managed a podium finish."

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