June 21, 2024

Sergio Pérez’s Red Bull crashes after a huge accident involving Kevin Magnussen. Photograph: Getty Images

Sergio Pérez has condemned Kevin Magnussen for “dangerous driving” after the pair were involved in a huge accident at the Monaco Grand Prix and the Red Bull driver accused the Dane of being wilfully foolhardy when racing, after the Mexican was lucky to be able to climb from the wreckage of his car.

On the opening lap at Monte Carlo going up the hill after turn one, Pérez, who had started in 16th in front of the two Haas drivers, Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg, was clipped from behind by Magnussen at about 150mph. The Mexican’s car speared into the barriers and then rebounded across the track into the other wall. In the process both Haas cars were ­collected and seriously damaged.

When Pérez came to a halt, all that was left of his car was the cockpit survival cell, with only one wheel, just held on by its tether. The rest of it had been strewn as disintegrating debris across the track by the force of the impact. All three drivers emerged unscathed, a remarkable tribute to the safety standards of F1 cars, but the FIA, Formula One’s governing body, chose not to investigate the accident, leaving Pérez furious.

“This was more dangerous driving, just to keep it flat out knowing that there was going to come contact at some point,” he said. “I think that was some dangerous driving. We need to ask for a reason why it’s not been investigated because without an investigation we don’t get a reason why it wasn’t a penalty. I’m really surprised.”

Sergio Perez
Pérez looks shaken up after the crash in Monte Carlo. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Romain Grosjean was similarly fortunate to escape an even worse impact at Bahrain in 2020 when his car speared into the barriers and burst into flames. His life was saved by the survival cell, the halo cockpit protection device and the marshals. The incident at Monaco is one of the most serious since then, alongside Lando Norris’s crash in qualifying at Spa in 2021 and when Zhou Guanyu was sent vertically into the catch fencing at Silverstone in 2022.

Magnussen, who was penalised for his driving at three successive races this season– the Chinese GP, the sprint in Miami, and the Miami GP – putting his penalty points up to 10, two short of a race ban, insisted Pérez should have left him space and accused him of squeezing him into the wall. However Pérez rejected this and was damning in his assessment of the Dane’s attitude to driving.

“I don’t think he really thinks about the outcome,” Pérez said. “You sometimes find yourself in a position and you have to take a very quick decision to say: ‘There’s only one way of it and it’s going to be contact, so I’d better back out.’ But he will go for the contact.”

The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, also expressed surprise the incident was not investigated but praised how well the car had protected his driver. “It was a horrible looking accident and your heart is in your mouth at that point,” he said. “The structure and the halo and everything did its job. Most important is Checo was able to walk away from what looked a very nasty incident unscathed.”

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