Lewis Hamilton ‘ruined’ Sergio Perez’s race with big damage to RB19 car

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez sits with Lewis Hamilton. Spa July 2023.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez alongside Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in the Thursday press conference.

Sergio Perez has said Lewis Hamilton “ruined” his sprint after the collision between them that saw him forced to retire at Spa-Francorchamps.

Hamilton moved alongside Perez on the exit of Stavelot after the Red Bull driver ran wide, but with the two next to each other through Curve Paul Frere, they collided and a hole in the Red Bull bodywork was formed with the impact.

Hamilton was given a five-second penalty for causing a collision and dropped from fourth to seventh after the sprint finished, but Perez was forced to retire after losing too much rear grip.

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

Sergio Perez squarely blames Lewis Hamilton for collision

With Perez having recovered from the lower reaches of the top 10 to be fighting for a place in the top three, the Red Bull driver was on the back of Pierre Gasly while Hamilton was lurking too.

But after a sluggish exit from Stavelot, this offered the Mercedes driver the chance to overtake in an unconventional place at Spa, but with the greasy track surface still playing a part, the stewards felt Hamilton was the one culpable for the collision between the two – and Perez agreed.

“Yeah, it was massive damage from the contact from Lewis,” Perez told media including PlanetF1.com after the sprint.

“He just took the whole right-hand side of the car, he damaged the floor and the sidepod so that was game over. We lost too much grip with it.

“He just, I think, ran out of grip and could not stop his car, and just went into the side of me and damaged my floor, and that was very unfortunate.

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“It was looking great. The team did a great strategy to recover, we were about to get [Pierre] Gasly just before the Safety Car came out.

“So yeah, it was looking great. But unfortunately, it was just all too late.”

Addressing Hamilton’s contact directly, he believes the seven-time World Champion was rushing to try and find a way by in the shortened sprint – with several laps having been taken away through the weather intervening on Saturday.

Ultimately, he feels the collision “ruined” his day.

“He was in a bit of a hurry,” Perez stated. “You know, everyone was in a hurry to recover today. It’s a very short race, so you have to take those levels of risk but yeah, not nice to get my race ruined by him.

“Yeah, tomorrow we will know about the car, where we really are. So, looking forward to that and hopefully we can recover the points we lost today.”

Read next: Belgian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen denies Oscar Piastri a first Sprint victory at a sodden Spa