x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Formula One: Sergio Perez branded 'stupid' by irate Kimi Raikkonen

With only a few laps remaining in Monaco Grand Prix Perez tried to pass and the two cars collided.

McLaren Mercedes' Mexican driver Sergio Perez.
McLaren Mercedes' Mexican driver Sergio Perez.

MONTE CARLO // Kimi Raikkonen, a man of few words, had some choice ones for Sergio Perez after yesterday's Monaco Grand Prix, lambasting the Mexican for his recklessness.

Lotus's 2007 world champion was left unimpressed by Perez's aggressive driving early in the 78-lap race, calling the Mexican an "idiot" over his team radio. Then, with only a few laps remaining and Raikkonen in fifth place, Perez tried to pass on the inside heading into a chicane and the two cars collided.

While Perez momentarily continued, Raikkonen suffered a left-rear tyre puncture and was forced to pit, dropping him to the back of the grid. He recovered to finish 10th, but when the Mexican claimed the accident would have been avoidable if his rival had left him more space into the turn, Raikkonen responded angrily.

"It was a really disappointing day," he said. "Because of one stupid move from Sergio, we've lost a lot of points to Sebastian [Vettel] in the championship and you can't afford to lose ground like that. He hit me from behind and that's about all there is to it. If he thinks it's my fault that he came into the corner too fast, then he obviously has no idea what he's talking about."

Perez was involved in a number of near-misses, including with Fernando Alonso and his own McLaren teammate, Jenson Button, who had demanded his team order his stablemate to stop turning in on him.

The 23 year old had earlier accepted that his manoeuvre on Raikkonen "was risky", but added that he had successfully managed the same trick twice previously. "Kimi didn't give me any room, there was nothing I could do to avoid it," Perez said. "If someone could avoid the accident, it was Kimi."

An unflappable character, Raikkonen now trails Vettel, who finished second, by 21 points.

"It's not the first time [Perez has] hit someone in the race," he said. "He seems to expect people to be always looking at what he might do, then move over or go straight on if he comes into the corner too quick and isn't going to make it without running into someone."

Raikkonen's recovery to finish 10th means he collected a solitary point and ensured he has now finished in the top 10 at 23 consecutive races, one behind Michael Schumacher's record.

"It's not the ideal weekend, but there's nothing we can do about it," he concluded. "At least we got one point back at the end."

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier added: "Kimi was impeccable all weekend once more, but his race was ruined by another driver making unnecessary contact with his car.

"We've lost ground in both the constructors' and drivers' championships this weekend so we'll be pushing twice as hard when we get to Canada to make amends."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae