Force India defend "innocent victim" Perez after high-speed crash

Perez Force India

Force India have defended Sergio Perez after his race-ending clash with Felipe Massa yesterday.

The Mexican had been one of the stars of the Canadian Grand Prix, running a one-stop strategy that placed him as high as second with just a few laps remaining. However as his tyres faded the Mexican also suffered an electrical glitch, which saw both Red Bulls slip past.

At the start of the final lap he was defending fourth from Felipe Massa when the Williams driver struck his left-rear, causing a huge accident at turn one.

A post-race statement from Force India asserted that Perez the "innocent victim of a high-speed crash on the final lap (after contact with Felipe Massa)."

However the stewards saw things very differently, handing Perez a five-place grid penalty for the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix for causing an avoidable collision.

In the same team statement, Perez also suggested that he had known nothing until Massa struck his car.

“On the final lap I was defending my position going into turn one when I suddenly got hit from behind," said the 24-year-old.

"It was a big impact, but I am okay. I’m really sad for the team because we had an amazing race today and the one-stop strategy was working perfectly.

Perez added that the concluding part of the race became a struggle due to high tyre degradation and an electrical issue.

"It was not easy in the final laps and I was pushing hard to try and get ahead of Nico Rosberg for the lead. Daniel Ricciardo managed to get ahead of me when I had an electrical issue with my car, but I managed to reset the system for the final couple of laps.

"The podium was possible today and I’m just very disappointed for the points we have lost."

Perez's team-mate Nico Hulkenberg took the chequered flag in fifth spot, extending his points-scoring streak to seven from the opening seven races of 2014.