Esteban Ocon accuses Sergio Perez of putting his life at risk

August 27 2017, 8.11pmUpdated: August 28 2017, 8.18pm
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A furious Esteban Ocon accused Force India team-mate Sergio Perez of putting his life at risk following their high-speed crash in Belgium on Sunday.

Ocon and Mexican Perez collided on two occasions in Sunday’s race, with both drivers sustaining heavy damage in their second coming together at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Perez, 27, moved across to cover Ocon on the run-up to the high-speed Eau Rouge corner, but in doing so, provoked a collision which saw him sustain a right-rear puncture, and left his team-mate with a damaged front wing.

Frenchman Ocon, who eventually finished ninth, called Perez an “idiot” in an expletive-fuelled radio message.

Perez, who was forced to retire, admitted fault for the collision, but an incandescent Ocon was not in the mood to accept his apology.

“He risked my life in there at 300km/h [186mph] down to Eau Rouge,” Ocon, 20, said. “That’s the first thing, the second thing is we lost a lot of points.

“He’s supposed to be a professional driver, but today he didn’t show it. He has not done that with any other team-mates. I don’t know why he’s doing it with me.

“I’m going to go and speak to him man-to-man and tell him the truth. He’s going to have a child. I don’t know if he wants to die or something. It’s just ridiculous.”

The incident, which threatened to turn Sunday’s result on its head following the ensuing deployment of a safety car, marked the second contest from the last five in which the team-mates have been involved in a collision.

And Force India boss Otmar Szafnauer has said his drivers will now not be free to race each other for the remainder of the year.

“In the future they’ll never have that opportunity again,” American Szafnauer said. “We’ve let them race up until now, but if they can’t do it in a manner which is good for the team then they won’t be racing any more.

“They shouldn’t be coming together. We’ve given them the latitude to race and I’ve always said that. But we’ve told them that if it happens again then we’ll be calling the race from the pit wall in the future.”

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