Hungarian Grand Prix 2015: Sergio Perez crash overshadows first practice as Lewis Hamilton goes fastest

Perez walked away unhurt after flipping his Force India following a suspension failure

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The Independent Online

Sergio Perez walked away unscathed from a high-speed crash in Friday's opening practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver suffered a rear suspension failure and lost control of his Force India on the exit of turn 11 before hitting the barriers on the opposite side of the track.

Perez's right-front wheel then appeared to get caught underneath his Force India which flipped his car. The former McLaren driver was prompt to inform his team he was "okay" before clambering out of his car.

 

The harrowing incident, which happened one hour into the 90-minute session, comes with the Formula One community mourning the loss of Jules Bianchi who died last Friday.

Friday's session, the first on-track action since Bianchi succumbed to the devastating injuries he sustained at last year's Japanese Grand Prix, was immediately red flagged and a medical car was sent to the scene.

Perez was swiftly taken to the medical centre as a precaution but emerged waving to the grandstands.

"It was a really bad accident, pretty unlucky," said Perez. "The track was dirty and I went on the astroturf and I collided on the other side of the track at a very bad angle, so it made the car roll over.

"But everything's alright. It was a strange accident. I thought it was under control but the astroturf was very dirty which is why I went in the wall. We'll have to check everything in detail."

The session restarted with a little over 18 minutes remaining and it was Lewis Hamilton who led the way.

The world champion, a winner last time out at the British Grand Prix, picked up where he left off ending the morning on top of the timesheets with a fastest lap of one minute 25.141 seconds.

He was 0.109secs faster than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with Kimi Raikkonen in third, almost seven tenths off Hamilton's best time.

Lewis-Hamilton.jpg
Lewis Hamilton went fastest in first practice

Raikkonen's session was then brought to a premature end however, after he suffered a front left tyre puncture which caused bits of his Ferrari front wing to scatter the track.

The incident-hit session was suspended once more as marshals removed the debris from the circuit.

Daniel Ricciardo was fourth in his Red Bull followed by his team-mate Daniil Kvyat with Sebastian Vettel sixth.

There was cause for optimism for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button 11th and 12th respectively, two seconds off Hamilton's pace.

Kimi-Raikkonen.jpg
Kimi Raikkonen suffered a front wing failure during first practice

Friday's opening practice session in the soaring heat in Budapest was the first since Bianchi's tragic passing.

And all of the drivers, most of whom attended his funeral on Tuesday, sported stickers reading "Ciao Jules" on their crash helmets.

Mercedes, Williams and Bianchi's former team, Manor, also ran £JB17 on their cars in honour of the Frenchman. It was announced earlier this week that his race number 17 would be permanently retired from Formula One.

Force India later withdrew both of their cars from Friday's second practice session as they continued to investigate the car failure which led to Perez's horrific crash.

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Fans sit in front of a tribute banner to Jules Bianchi

A team statement read: "Sahara Force India will not take part in this afternoon's second practice session at the Hungaroring as the team continues to investigate a suspension problem, which caused Sergio Perez to crash this morning.

"Sergio's car suffered significant damage to the bodywork, wings and floor, and repairs are ongoing.

"As a precaution, the team has chosen not to run Nico Hulkenberg this afternoon. The team will work hard to fully understand the cause of the failure and find a resolution in order to be ready for Saturday's free practice session."

First Practice:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1min 25.141secs,

2 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1:25.250,

3 Kimi Raikonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:25.812,

4 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:26.053,

5 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Red Bull 1:26.070,

6 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:26.395,

7 Carlos Sainz Jnr (Spa) Toro Rosso 1:26.727,

8 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:26.776,

9 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:26.825,

10 Max Verstappen (Ned) Toro Rosso 1:26.934,

11 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:27.272,

12 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren 1:27.308,

13 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:27.317,

14 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams 1:27.381,

15 Felipe Nasr (Bra) Sauber 1:27.409,

16 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber 1:27.732,

17 Pastor Maldonando (Ven) Lotus 1:28.568,

18 Will Stevens (Gbr) Manor 1:29.693,

19 Fabio Leimar (Sui) Manor 1:30.631,

20 Jolyon Palmer (Gbr) Lotus 00:00.000