Helpless Perez relieved to walk clear after crashing in Hungary

Sergio Perez admits he was “scared” following his dramatic crash during practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
SHAKEN: Force India driver Sergio Perez of Mexico, in green helmet, stands next to his overturned carSHAKEN: Force India driver Sergio Perez of Mexico, in green helmet, stands next to his overturned car
SHAKEN: Force India driver Sergio Perez of Mexico, in green helmet, stands next to his overturned car

Perez was left a passenger in his Force India after he suffered a right-rear suspension failure on the exit of turn 11.

He slid helplessly across the track before crashing into the barriers and then being launched into the air.

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His Force India landed on its roof, but Perez was able to clamber out of the cockpit and was swiftly given the all-clear by the FIA medical team.

The Mexican’s crash was a stark reminder of the inherent dangers involved in Formula 1, and came only days after Jules Bianchi was laid to rest after he tragically succumbed to the brain injuries he sustained at the Japanese Grand Prix.

“The impact was not that bad but then I rolled over and I got a bit scared,” Perez said.

“It was quite a dramatic accident.

“Getting out of the car was quite a challenge in that position, but thank God nothing happened and I’m here for tomorrow.

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“We should definitely analyse my accident and see if there’s something we can improve.”

Force India withdrew both of their cars from yesterday’s second practice session as they tried to uncover the reasons behind Perez’s harrowing incident.

The British-based team, however, remain confident they will return to the track for qualifying on today.

“It’s been a challenging day as we try to understand the right rear suspension failure on Sergio’s car,” said Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.

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“We opted to withdraw from the afternoon session as a precaution until we had a clear understanding of the problem.

“Those investigations remain ongoing and will continue this evening to ensure we can resume running on Saturday.

“Losing the afternoon puts us on the back foot, but I’m optimistic we can recover some of the lost ground tomorrow to be ready for qualifying.”

In the searing Budapest heat it was Lewis Hamilton, a winner last time out at the British Grand Prix, who maintained his sizzling form.

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The 30-year-old topped the timesheets in both sessions and he ended the day a mammoth – by Formula 1standards – seven tenths of a second faster than his Mercedes team-mate.

“It was really good fun out there today and I’m starting to think this might be my favourite track,” said Hamilton, who is bidding for a record fifth win in Hungary tomorrow.

“It’s so much fun to drive with the combination of corners and undulations.

“The way it all flows together just feels old school.”

A heatwave is rippling through central Europe which saw temperatures in Budapest reach 35 degrees C on Friday.

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Hamilton, who holds a 17-point lead over Rosberg in the championship, added: “It’s incredibly hot – like driving in a sauna.

“You’re drenched in sweat before you even get in the car with all the thermals on and I lost about half a kilo just in that session.

“It’s a big challenge to get a good lap here in these conditions and I think everyone has struggled a bit.

“It’s meant to be a bit cooler on Sunday which will be easier to cope with physically but will obviously change the balance a bit, so it should be interesting. Our car feels strong here though and I’m very happy with it so far.”

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On an encouraging day for Red Bull, Daniil Kvyat was second fastest, 0.351secs slower than Hamilton with Daniel Ricciardo a further tenth back.

Their strong display was dampened however when Ricciardo suffered a Renault engine failure. With plumes of smoke billowing from the back of his Red Bull, the Australian was forced to pull off the track at turn 11.

With Red Bull showing signs of a resurgence there was encouragement for McLaren too, as Fernando Alonso followed up a reasonable showing in the opening session to end the afternoon in eighth, 1.8secs down on Hamilton’s fastest lap. Jenson Button was 12th, two tenths adrift of his Spanish team-mate.

Yesterday’s action was the first since Bianchi’s tragic passing, and all of the drivers, most of whom attended his funeral on Tuesday, sported stickers reading ‘Ciao Jules’ or ‘JB17’ on their crash helmets. It was announced earlier this week that his race number 17 would be permanently retired from Formula 1, while a one-minute silence will be held ahead of tomorrow’s race.