Nico Rosberg has become the latest Formula 1 driver to lay some criticism on McLaren driver Sergio Perez after the two drivers collided during the recent Japanese Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver described the Mexican’s driving as ‘dangerous’ after their battle for eighth place on the road lead to Perez suffering a left-rear punctured tyre and left Rosberg with a damaged front wing.
“Perez was not right with what he did. Definitely dangerous” said Rosberg, as he was sure Perez was defending his position in an unfair manner. He then added:
“The rules are clear: if you brake and you close the door then you have to move out again. I was there and he didn’t leave any space”.
It is not the first controversial incident Sergio Perez has been involved in during the 2013 season. He upset his own McLaren team-mate Jenson Button with ultra-aggressive overtaking attempts at the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, whilst in Monaco he clashed with Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen at the Nouvelle chicane which lead to the Finn lambasting him.
“He hit me from behind and that’s about all there is to it,” said Raikkonen at the conclusion of the Monaco race back in May. “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.
“It’s not the first time he’s hit someone in the race. 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.”
The main issue with Perez is when he is under pressure he sometimes makes rash decisions. His speed has never been in doubt, – the three podium finishes in 2012 with Sauber shows this – however it is his wheel-to-wheel battles that could sometimes be described as unsafe. If he can eliminate those mistakes he will become a much better driver and ensure a longer career in Formula 1.
His career at McLaren is under threat after just one season in the team, as he has been generally out-performed by Button. Jenson has 54 points compared to the 22 points Sergio has scored, while the Brit has also out-qualified the Mexican by eleven races to four. Whilst it is possible that McLaren could retain him, drivers including Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg continue to be linked with the team, and with Jenson Button already signed for 2014, it is obvious whose seat is under threat.
If McLaren were to drop Sergio Perez from its 2014 line-up, it is hard to see where else he could end up. Maybe a return to his first team Sauber could happen, especially if the funding from Mexican Billionaire businessman Carlos Slim continues for another year. I cannot see him in any other team however, though that is just from my point of view.
It could end up being a case that, at 23 years old, he could be on the outside looking in, out of Formula 1 in 2014. It would be a real shame for Sergio and for sport in Mexico, some fans believing that Sergio Perez could be a future Formula 1 world champion.