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However, it was enough to destroy the race of the Mexican, who retired from the race consequently. The Brit was affected too, as he was found responsible for it and earned a five-second penalty, which dropped him from fourth to seventh after the conclusion of the race.
Hamilton-Perez incident: The contact and the damage
The incident took place on the sixth lap, the first one after a safety car intervention following a spin for Fernando Alonso. Perez was running fourth, having jumped Hamilton and the Ferraris in the pitstop cycle.
The Red Bull driver was struggling for grip though and towards the end of the lap, at Stavelot, he ran wide and Hamilton took the opportunity to draw alongside. The pair went side by side in the high-speed Paul Frere curve heading to the back straight. Hamilton understeered into the side of the Red Bull and the two cars touched.
Checo and Lewis collide pic.twitter.com/gpkURPdF7U
— @RBR_Daily (@RedBullUpdates) July 29, 2023
Perez lost out to Hamilton and both Ferrari drivers over the next lap, before an excursion into the gravel. He parked his car in the garage and the damage was obvious for everyone to see:
Agujero en el pontón y suelo roto en el Red Bull de Checo Pérez
— Albert Fabrega (@AlbertFabrega) July 29, 2023
Hamilton-Perez incident: What the drivers had to say
Sergio Perez made his comments after his premature exit from the race:
It was massive damage from the contact from Lewis. He just took the whole right hand side off the car.
He damaged the floor and the sidepod, so that that was game over – we lost too much grip with it.
Basically he just, I think, ran out of grip and could not stop his car and just went onto the side of me and damaged my floor and that was very unfortunate.
I think he was in a bit of a hurry. Everyone was in a hurry to recover today, it’s a very short race, you have to take those level of risks, but not nice to get my race ruined by him.
Lewis Hamilton offered his own point of view after completing the Sprint. The penalty dropped him from fourth to seventh and cost him three points today:
He was slow. He went wide though Turn 14 and I got a great exit. I was more than half a car alongside him and we just ended up coming together.
It was a bit of a racing incident really. Naturally, it wasn’t intentional. But they [the stewards] saw it differently. It doesn’t really make a lot of difference.
The pair will be starting close together as well tomorrow, as Sergio Perez will be second on the grid, just one position ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
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