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Force India should have retired Perez before shunt - Smedley

ESPN Staff
June 9, 2014 « Wolff sure Hamilton will get back in title fight | Perez hits back at Williams criticism over Massa shunt »
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Williams' Rob Smedley believes Force India should have retired Sergio Perez with brake issues before his huge last lap accident with Felipe Massa.

Massa and Perez were both hurled at the crash barriers on the exit of Turn 1 after the Williams collided with the rear of the Force India in the braking zone. Footage showed that Perez hit the brakes earlier than Massa and moved to the left slightly, which resulted in the contact.

The stewards deemed Perez to be at fault and gave him a five-place grid penalty for the next race, but Smedley believes Force India had a responsibility to prevent the accident from happening.

"I think from about Lap 67 - that's when we got the [radio] transcript but it may have been broadcast earlier - they were talking about having no rear brakes," Smedley said. "'I've got no rear brakes' was his [Perez's] comment and they said 'If you can carry on, carry on. But if you can't, pit'.

"That says to me that it is a fairly fucking terminal problem, to be honest. Why you then leave a car out when you've got that sort of problem is a little bit beyond me. Today you saw two teams - one of which was ours - call it quits. In our case it was Valtteri and we told him to back off, saving brakes and saving the engine, and more critically brakes because it can be dangerous. We had to back him off and lose points, but that's life.

"Lewis Hamilton, because of his problem of brakes and engine, had to stop the car and that's a guy fighting for the world championship. I'm a bit peeved to say the least that this has happened.

"Felipe registered 27G [in the accident] and I think we are all relieved that both of them are all right, because it doesn't bear thinking about what can happen in silly accidents like that."

Smedley accepted that Perez's brake issues may have been resolved to some extent by the final lap, but said the way in which he braked for Turn 1 suggests the car was still not running as it should have been.

"It's now come to light that he didn't have the brake-by-wire for some laps, so as a default it goes to fully-rearward brake balance and he was running like that for some laps. Whether he was running like that at the end or whether it was just problems with the car, I don't know. But definitely he braked very, very early, backed into Felipe and jinked to the left and Felipe collected him.

"We were lucky not have someone seriously hurt and lucky not to have collected Sebastian [Vettel] in a side-on accident. So the main thing is that nobody has been hurt. I think the stewards have given a five-place grid penalty to Sergio after reviewing the evidence, and they know usually what they are talking about and have meted out the punishment."

In a Force India press release on Monday evening, Perez said his car was "perfectly drivable" after setting adjustments following the radio call.

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