Williams team boss James Vowles fears Sergio Perez’s lunge on Alex Albon in the Singapore Grand Prix, one he billed as “not the way to do it”, could cost Williams in the championship.
Racing for a points-paying position at the Marina Bay circuit, Albon was ahead of his former teammate Perez, who he felt was being overly aggressive in his attempts at passing.
Albon got onto the radio with Williams, calling Perez “f****** dirty” and saying he’d been trying his best to “stop him from hitting me.”
James Vowles: That was not the way to overtake
He added: “Sorry, but I can’t do that every single time he tries to take a lunge and take avoiding action. I thought he would have this one under control but he didn’t.”
Perez definitely didn’t as he tried once again to overtake Albon at the tight left-hander after the Anderson Bridge and instead hit him.
The Williams driver briefly stopped on track with his car having almost brushed the wall as well. The incident cost him a potential eighth-placed finish, which would’ve been three valuable points for Williams.
“Quite a few points on the table were taken away,” Vowles told Motorsport.com.
“It is frustrating that when you’re in a championship that’s being fought down to the point, and you’re leading against your direct rivals in this championship, to have it taken away from you hurts.
“And without good reason either. It was a lunge – there are sensible ways of overtaking and that was not the way to do it.
“For a number of laps prior Perez was very much on the inside and trying to put his nose there. That in itself isn’t a problem, you’ve got to do aggressive techniques.
“But Alex had already committed to the turn-in point. And it’s overlapping at the back and it was contact into the sidepod. There was no way that was going to work.
“So it’s incredibly frustrating. You are into fine, fine margins. And this could be what decides the championship positions.”
Although Williams remain seventh in the Constructors’ Championship, Haas closed the gap by a point while AlphaTauri scored two.
Perez was subsequently slapped with a five-second time penalty but such was his gap to Liam Lawson he held onto eighth place.
Vowles, though, was quick to find a positive from what turned out to be a disappointing day.
“The main thing is I think you can see the team really giving it their all, and Alex giving his all,” he said.
“We know we were on the backfoot this weekend, but we made a set of really good decisions that actually didn’t necessarily all happen in the race – the decision to have two mediums took place weeks ago.
“But that all came to fruition when that VSC came out. And the ability to take those opportunities is great. And it was fantastic to see Alex fight through again.”