|© AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
Kimi Raikkonen did not hold back his annoyance at being bumped into by Sergio Perez in the closing stages of the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday after the McLaren driver cost the Finn valuable points in the championship chase.
Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in the standings from the Lotus driver to 21 points after Raikkonen salvaged a single point after a late pit stop – forced due to the collision - and a charge from 16th to tenth place in the last four laps.
Perez drove an aggressive race and troubled his rivals, including the 2007 world champion, who had to take evasive action at the Chicane to avoid the charging McLaren.
"That idiot would have crashed into me if I hadn't gone straight," complained Raikkonen over the radio.
Later the two drivers collided at the same spot with Perez retiring and Raikkonen forced to pit after he picked up a puncture.
“Maybe someone should punch him in the face," Raikkonen was quoted by the BBC when asked if other drivers should speak to the feisty Mexican.
“Because of one stupid move from Sergio we’ve lost a lot of points to Sebastian in the championship and you can’t afford to lose ground like that,” he said later. “If he thinks it’s my fault that he came into the corner too fast then he obviously has no idea what he’s talking about.”
Perez had argued that the Lotus didn’t leave him enough room when he tried to make the pass as they exited the Tunnel.
"As a result I got squeezed into the wall on the entry to the Harbour Chicane,” he explained. "Of course, any passing manoeuvre at Monaco is risky, but, at the end of the day, you have to leave each other a little room.”
Perez had collided into Raikkonen in China earlier this season as well and later in Bahrain came to blows on the track with teammate Jenson Button.
Monaco was no different.
"He's got to stop turning into me guys," Button radioed to his team after Perez made daring moves on his teammate early in the race.
Button eventually finished sixth highlighting that the Monaco GP was “one of those races where you need to hang in there until the very end, because anything can happen”.
“It was a pity that Checo’s late-race retirement meant we couldn’t score more heavily,” he added referring to his teammate who “put a really good move” on the Briton at the Chicane.
Had Perez maintained his fifth place, he would have added ten points to his tally, which would have dropped Adrian Sutil to sixth (for eight points), Button to seventh (for six points) and Paul di Resta to tenth for the solitary point.
That would have allowed McLaren to get past Force India for the fifth spot in the constructors’ championship by four points.
Fernando Alonso however sympathised with Perez, who has been a member of the Ferrari driver academy, despite having to cut a chicane in order to avoid a collision with the Mexican.
“I don’t have much to say, his approach reminds me of my own in 2008 and 2009, because when you are not fighting for the championship, you can take more risks,” said the Spaniard.