Montreal: Force India suffered a heartbreak in the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix as Sergio Perez, contending for victory until the closing stages of the 70-lap race, crashed out at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve here.
Having led the race for a brief period and looking for a realistic second place finish, Perez was a victim of a high speed crash on the final lap after contact with Williams' Felipe Massa which brought the race to an end under the safety car. Importantly, both drivers were declared injury-free after medical checks.
However, Perez, along with Marussia's Max Chilton, has been handed five-place grid penalties for the Austrian Grand Prix after stewards deemed both guilty of triggering separate incidents Sunday.
Having investigated the incident, the stewards judged that Perez had changed his racing line which caused the impact with Massa.
"On the final lap I was defending my position going into Turn 1 when I suddenly got hit from behind. It was a big impact but I am okay. I'm really sad for the team because we had an amazing race and the one-stop strategy was working perfectly," said Perez, who remains on 20 points in the standings at 10th position.
"It was not easy in the final laps. I was pushing hard to try and get ahead of Nico Rosberg for the lead. Daniel Ricciardo managed to get ahead of me when I had an electrical issue but I managed to reset the system for the final couple of laps. The podium was possible. I'm just very disappointed for the points we lost."
Teammate Nico Hulkenberg's one-stop strategy saw him finish in a strong fifth place, scoring a further 10 points.
"It was a very busy race. To come away with 10 points and fifth place is a good result. I gained some positions at the end due to the crash between Sergio and Massa. Being on a different strategy from everyone else meant I always had someone pushing close behind me," said Hulkenberg, who is sixth in the standings with 57 points.
"It was fun but also very challenging, especially towards the end as I had quite a long stint on the super soft tyres. Stopping only once, I had a bigger challenge managing the tyres compared to the two-stoppers but we got the right reward for it. It was the fastest strategy for us and to be the only two cars to manage a one-stopper is definitely a positive."
The dramatic race was won by Red Bull's Ricciardo, his maiden victory, after both the Mercedes cars seemed to develop a problem in their braking unit, slowing them down. Lewis Hamilton had to retire but Rosberg managed to keep the top spot until Ricciardo passed him on the penultimate lap.
Rosberg came second to extend his lead in the standings to 22 points and defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull came in third.