Sergio Perez accepts penalty 'well deserved' on 'worst day of the year'

Force India’s Sergio Perez accepted his penalty for hitting Williams rival Sergey Sirotkin in Singapore was fully deserved on the “worst day of the year”.

Perez clashed with team-mate Esteban Ocon on the opening lap of the race, resulting in the Frenchman being tipped into the wall and into retirement.

Perez made an early stop, having started on Hypersofts, and filtered back into the action behind Sirotkin, who was serviced during the Safety Car period caused by the Perez/Ocon collision.

Perez spent several laps unable to overhaul Sirotkin before eventually drawing level with the Williams driver through Turns 15/16/17.

But Perez moved over on Sirotkin as they exited Turn 17, the contact puncturing his rear-left tyre, and he was censured by stewards for the clash, receiving a drive-through penalty.

“It was a very hard day in which I found myself in a very hard position from the start,” he said.

“As I went out of the first corner I saw [Romain] Grosjean very close to me on my left and didn’t realise that Esteban was coming in on my right side and we ended up touching.

“Unfortunately it was my team-mate but it could have been any other car.

“Then we paid for the extraordinary qualifying we had and my strategy was compromised by having the softest compound.

“We stopped very early in the race and then we went out into a lot of traffic in a track where is very hard to overtake.

“In the incident with Sirotkin I closed the line a bit earlier and I got a well-deserved penalty.

“Definitely this was the worst day of the year.”

Perez is no longer permitted to race against Ocon after Force India confirmed that team orders have been implemented.