Button: Perez has to calm down or soon something serious will happen

Jenson Button versus Sergio Perez

Jenson Button versus Sergio Perez

Jenson Button has accused team mate Sergio Perez of dangerous and dirty driving after the McLaren men fought a high speed, wheel-banging duel in the desert at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The pair raced side-by-side and nose-to-tail in the searing heat, with Perez kicking up dust as he ran wide while trying to force a way past and making contact with the rear of Button’s car.

Button, who ended up 10th while Perez finished sixth in the fourth race of the Formula One season, was not amused after urging his team over the radio to calm down the Mexican.

“There was a lot of clean racing, which was good – apart from with my team mate,” the 2009 world champion told reporters at the Sakhir circuit. “Wheel banging at 300 kilometres an hour isn’t normally the way I go racing, but there you go. It’s great for the team that he got some points, but he didn’t go about it in a very clean way I would say.”

Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren and Jenson Button

Sergio Perez with Jenson Button before the Bahrain GP

The 33-year-old Briton, who previously had 2008 champion and compatriot Lewis Hamilton as his team mate and who is also the most experienced driver in the sport, said 23-year-old Perez had some growing up to do.

The Mexican came into the Bahrain weekend feeling some pressure after being criticised for the aggressive way he defended his position in China.

He had been told before that by team principal Martin Whitmarsh to use his ‘elbows’ more, and make life tougher for rivals on the track. Button clearly felt Perez had gone too far in that direction.

“I’ve raced with many team mates over the years, and I had quite an aggressive team mate in Lewis,” he said. “But I’m not used to driving along a straight and having a team mate coming alongside me and wiggling his wheels at me, and banging wheels at 300 kph. That’s things you do in karting, and normally you grow out of it, but that’s obviously not the case with Checo. Soon something serious will happen, so he has to calm down..I’ve had some tough fights in F1, but not quite as dirty as that.”

Jenson Button after the race

Jenson Button after the race

Perez said it had been an equal, if risky, battle, “It was definitely a bit too much. A bit too risky what Jenson and I did. I agree we were too aggressive. But he was as aggressive as I was as I went off the track a few times…It’s something we have to talk about between us to sort it out.”

Whitmarsh, caught in the middle, dished out praise and criticism in equal measure, “What you don’t do is hit your team mate from behind and potentially give him a puncture and potentially take your front wing off. So that was too far.”

“But people have been saying he (Perez) hasn’t had the spark this year. I think he definitely had the spark today. So overall, a fantastic fighting result. I think he’ll come out of it with some confidence, he’s a young driver and has got to learn and perhaps calm down a little bit in some things but it’s that passion that got him past a few more drivers later in the race. So you don’t want to extinguish the spark.”

“Both Jenson and Checo are fast, forceful and hungry for success – and that’s exactly how it should be. It’s called racing, and we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes always allow our drivers to race. It’s what this sport is all about,” added Whitmarsh.

  • Hawk

    Is that a threat? Or is it a case of the end justifies the means? Anyway, he was quite dirty. he was a hard tackler, bordering on illegal but not. he could have gone about it in a more civilised way rather that the “get out my way or else.. ” approach. he did it to Alonso too. Kimi in the past. But he salvaged McLaren’s day.

  • Alonso_is_slow

    Button was dirty, too, forcing Perez outside the track.

    He should not cry.

    Does he remember when he knocked out Alonso + Hamilton to win the 2011 Canadian GP?

  • Aileen

    ah! ah! ah! Perez will not take your shit Jenson.

  • Roni

    Button must push harder and then he will not have problems with Perez and others.

  • fapper

    funny how jenson reacts on how his teammate raced in bahrain. sergio was just reacting from martin’s “toughening up” call that’s why sergio was pushing hard. in the first place, jenson should have let sergio pass him since sergio was way quicker than him.

  • McLarenfan

    The spark was there but he went a bit GP2 ish and that was a bit too far the same as it was for Romain Grosjean last year.

  • andrewf1

    Lol @ Button.

    Playing the ‘too aggressive’ card when he finished 4 places behind his teammate.
    It takes 2 drivers to have an aggressive fight so he’s just as much to blame as well.
    He was beaten fair and square and now feels his authority as number 1 driver is becoming undermined.

    Personally, i really appreciated Perez’s fighting spirit and it was very entertaining to watch.
    Perez will know better not to listen to his whining teammate.

  • Mark

    I like Jenson’s driving style, but he lifted the throttle after that corner when Perez hit him. It was pretty obvious, Perez had better speed when he started the corner, I think that was a dirty trick too… but McLaren wont say a thing about it. You should download the race and look very closely.

    All I can say is thank you Lewis and thank you Sergio, you two were real warriors there.

  • Eugenio

    Creo que Jenson está sintiendo que en el equipo Mc Laren no hay preferencias y cualquiera de los dos puede ganar. Checo ya demostró que no va dejarse intimidar por él y por nadie; la maniobra fue arriesgada, pero no mal intencionada. Bien por ese sexto lugar ganado con mucho esfuerzo. Esto va a provocar que haya mayor competitividad