One of the most fascinating and exciting parts of the 2017 Canadian GP at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was the battle between Daniel Ricciardo, the Force Indias and Ferrari drivers.
Ricciardo was struggling a bit on the soft tyre, while Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were right behind on super-softs and the Ferraris were closing in.
With Perez unable to get close enough to try a move on Ricciardo, he was told to let Ocon through and have a go at passing the Red Bull.
Perez refused and there were full-on negotiations over team radio over what to do. All of this, with Ocon even battling him on track, led to Ricciardo opening up a gap and Vettel closing in.
Both drivers eventually lost out to Vettel late on and Ocon tried a pass on Perez at the last corner, but couldn’t get ahead. Ocon was not happy at all, saying “this is not fair racing at all”.
Perez has come to defend what happened in the race, saying it was for the good of the team
He told NBC in the media pen afterwards:
“Of course, I’m racing for my team. The best I can do is give plenty of points to them, as I have in the past. I think we got the most we could, and Esteban had many laps to overtake me, but he was not close at all.
“I couldn’t get Ricciardo, so I don’t think he would have got him. Daniel was very strong on traction. When the team asked me to give the position to Esteban we were about to lap some cars ahead of us. And I thought that Daniel might get traffic, and I only need two to three tenths to get the opportunity on him, and I could see he was struggling and I knew the Ferraris were coming.”
He also responded to Ocon’s frustration at his last-lap defending, adding:
“I think I just defended the position as I would do to anyone – I just moved once. I protected my inside line, because Sebastian [Vettel], the lap before, just went past on my inside. I made a move to protect that. If he was fast enough, he’d have gone through on the outside. I was just trying to protect my position.”
It probably made for an awkward debrief after the race, that’s for sure…
Was Perez in his right to stay ahead of Ocon? Let us know in the comments.