Perez “in wrong place, at wrong time” in collision with Ocon and Hulkenberg during F1 Qatar sprint

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At the end of the Sprint Race of the Qatar GP, Sergio Perez analyzed the accident in which he was involved together with Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg, underlining that he found himself in the “wrong place, at the wrong time”. Race accident which, for completeness, was also analyzed by the Haas and Alpine driver.

Without a doubt, one of the episodes that will be most remembered of the Sprint Race of the Qatar GP, in addition to the first position achieved by Oscar Piastri’s McLaren and Max Verstappen’s third title, is the spectacular accident involving three drivers: Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, resulting in retirement for all of them.

Unfortunate event born from the drop in performance of Esteban Ocon who, halfway through the race, was losing ground due to the high degradation of the soft tyres, and from the attempt to overtake the Alpine by Nico Hulkenberg, at the exit of turn 1, and by Perez’s Red Bull on the outside, in the transition between Turn 1 and Turn 2. Hulkenberg, at that moment, was trapped sandwiched between the two cars and the collision was inevitable, with the Alpine ending up in a spin, after hitting the Haas, and then clouting into Perez’s sidepod.

An accident which, after the Sprint, was commented on by the direct protagonists, with Sergio Perez who underlined the misfortune of the episode, in which he was not to blame, and in which he found himself in the wrong place in the wrong moment, nullifying the growing performance of his Red Bull. Performance which, however, give him confidence for the race.

“I was in the wrong place, the wrong time. The race didn’t start particularly well because we were on the medium tyre, there was very little grip to start the race with that tyre. We were recovering, we were making good progress, but unfortunately while I was making further progress we had this contact and I paid the price for it, I had extensive damage to my car. It was a very frustrating day, but tomorrow is a new opportunity and we will give our best.”

After the Mexican, Esteban Ocon (who was having a tyre crisis at that stage) also commented on the incident, underlining that from his position it was impossible to see Perez’s Red Bull and think about the possible consequences, branding the incident as a racing one.

“We had soft tyres, so we started very well. We recovered some good positions from tenth to seventh, and also some good duels with Fernando Alonso. Unfortunately we were falling back, and we were more on the defensive side than on the offensive side, and obviously we had had that accident when there were three of us. I touched the right rear, the next thing I saw when I opened my eyes was that I was in the gravel. Clearly I saw Nico, I knew he was there, but for me at that point it’s impossible to see Sergio on the right side. Three abreast is not a good idea in that corner unfortunately, so I think it’s a racing accident.”

The last of the three protagonists to comment on the incident was Nico Hulkenberg who, after admitting to having seen Perez arrive, admitted that he had tried (in vain) to get out of the way, in order to avoid the accident.

“It all happened very quickly, very unfortunate. I was attacking Esteban at Turn 1 and then on the outside line, with very little grip on the sand, but then I made an undercut and then I came out of Turn 1 well and was a bit side by side with next to Turn 2. And obviously I was racing him, and mostly seeing him, and then I saw Checo appear very late. And I knew he was going to get very sharp and tight. I tried to pull out, but it was too late. So, yeah, very unfortunate for all three.”

The German driver subsequently exonerated Ocon, underlining and supporting the Frenchman’s thesis according to which he could not have seen Perez and avoided the crash.

“I would like to blame him! But I think in this case we can’t, because I don’t think he was able to see Checo. And so he probably thought I had room to move further to the right.”

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool