October 11th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sergio Perez has put his hand up and admitted it was his error that caused his crash in today's second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Perez lost the back end of his McLaren under braking for the Spoon curve, and went careering across the run-off area and into a tyre barrier on the outside of the corner. He hit the barrier hard on with the right side of the car, first on the rear axle and then the front. Although it was a significant impact, Perez was fortunately not injured. He described the incident and the effect it had on his practice programme:
“My accident during FP2 was my error. I was setting the car up for the entry to Spoon, put my right-rear wheel onto the grass, and just lost the back end. At the speed I was travelling, and with relatively little run-off, there wasn’t much room to scrub off speed so I went straight into the wall.
“The impact was quite hard, but fortunately I’m fine.
“The accident meant we didn’t get the track time we needed for the high-fuel and Option tyre runs in our programme for the afternoon. But we’ll be able to use some of the data generated by Jenson, and our aim for tomorrow has to be to get into Q3."
Perez finished FP2 16th fastest, completing just 8 laps before crashing out. In the first practice session, he was 9th fastest.
Jenson Button managed to complete a full day's running. Perhaps his experience helped him to stay on the track - this is Button's 12th appearance at the Japanese Grand Prix, the most of any current driver. Button was fairly happy with the work he and his team managed to complete during Friday practice and had the following to say after the day's sessions were over:
"It’s great to be out on the circuit. Throughout the day, we saw a lot of drivers making mistakes, but that’s the nature of this place – it’s unforgiving. Obviously, we don’t like to see accidents like Checo’s, but you appreciate that you have to respect this place.
“It’s been a relatively good Friday. We found a good balance on the Prime tyre, but still need to do some work with the Option, because we didn’t gain too much going from the harder tyre to the softer one.
“Nevertheless, while both compounds are working reasonably well, I believe there’s a cooler weather front coming in for tomorrow, so we need to be careful about the direction we take with the set-up to best cope with it."
Both Button and Perez expressed shock and sadness at the news that former Marussia test driver Maria de Villota has passed away. Button said:
“Today’s news about Maria de Villota is horrendous and tragic. She had been through so much – much more than most people will ever have to go through in their lives – and it’s been so tough for her. This is a real shock to the whole Formula 1 ‘family’ and the world of motorsport. My thoughts are with her family at this time.”
Perez added, “I only heard the very bad news about Maria de Villota at the end of the session. It’s incredibly sad to learn this news about somebody you know. My thoughts are obviously with Maria and her family during this terrible time.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh expressed his admiration for Maria, saying:
“The entire F1 community is very shocked by the news that Maria is no longer with us. She was an inspiration not just to women in this sport, but also to all those who suffered life-threatening injuries. Her story, determination and subsequent inspiration flowed from F1 through sport as a whole, and to see the images of her in Barcelona on the grid earlier this year, surrounded by a throng of jubilant children, told a great story. Maria participated in the Manhattan Fans’ Forum on behalf of her team, Marussia F1, last year, and made a lasting impression on the fans who attended. She will be sadly missed, and we wish to pass on our sincere condolences to her family.”