Racing Point’s Sergio Perez says he left enough room for Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in their F1 Japanese GP collision on the lap which officially never happened.
In what was a confusing end to the F1 Japanese GP at Suzuka, Perez managed to retain ninth position for two points despite his incident with Gasly. The chequered flag was mistakenly waved a lap early, when Perez and Gasly made contact.
It was supposed to be the last lap of the race i.e Lap 53. Perez got tapped into a spin by Gasly when the Racing Point driver tried to overtake on the outside of Turn 2. The stewards who reviewed the incident deemed that there was no action necessary.
They stated: “Both drivers contributed to the contact as car 11, who was slightly in front and on the outside of the track took a narrow line towards the apex of Turn 2, while car 10 on the inside of the track, and likely not fully visible to car 11, did not take as tight a line as was possible through the apex prior to the contact.”
Fortunately for Perez, the results were declared on Lap 52 when Perez was still ninth and Gasly eighth. It helped the Mexican to retain track position as well as the points finish, even though he did not see the chequered flag for what should have been the official end.
Speaking about the incident, Perez felt he left enough room. “There was confusion at the end because the chequered flag came out a lap early, so when I was taken out by Gasly the race had already finished,” he said. “With the fresh tyres, I was much faster than him.
“I was ahead of him and left enough room, so there was no need for the contact. It’s disappointing to finish the race like that – with a damaged car – but at least we got some points for the team.” Gasly, meanwhile, didn’t straightaway commented on the clash.
The Toro Rosso driver was anyways nursing his car home as he suffered a suspension problem during the closing stages of the race. “It was a pretty big hit,” he said. “For sure, it wasn’t ideal. I saw he was there, but then after, of course in this corner, it’s always quite tricky.
“I saw he was there; I expected a bit more space, but as I said, I don’t want to blame him for anything.” For Gasly as well, with no stewards action, the Frenchman was able to keep his points finish in Honda’s home race at Suzuka.
Interestingly, the incident was quite similar to the one between Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen at the start of the grand prix. Leclerc was deemed responsible for the clash and was penalised subsequently.
In the end, it was a productive weekend for both Gasly and Perez with their respective points finishes as their teammates Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll couldn’t – the former had gearbox troubles again at the start to bog down, which hampered his chances.
Here’s how the F1 Japanese GP panned out
Sebastian Vettel on his mistake and FIA’s clarification
Valtteri Bottas admits about concerns he had of Lewis Hamilton not pitting
Robert Kubica felt let down by Williams in Japanese GP
Charles Leclerc accepted blame for Turn 2 incident
Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton dedicate title to Niki Lauda
The story was written by Venkatesh P Koushik and edited by Darshan Chokhani