The Sauber team have confirmed that Sergio Perez suffered no serious injury in his sizeable crash during qualifying for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The Mexican was seen to emerge from the tunnel section inexplicably far to the left hand side of the track, well off the racing line. It appeared as though when he touched the brakes the car had not settled, and he speared into the Armco barrier on the right hand side, causing considerable damage to the car.
At unabated speed the Sauber careered into the barrier at the bottom of the hill side-on, with Perez appearing to raise his hand to protect his head just prior to impact.
Immediate concerns were that something had entered the cockpit during the accident and emergency services rushed to Perez’s aid as the session was red-flagged.
Soon after came confirmation that the rookie was conscious and able to respond to questioning by FIA doctor Gary Hartstein, in tests that are commonplace for drivers suspected to have head injuries.
Sauber were able to issue a statement later this afternoon to confirm that the Mexican was out of the woods, although he had sustained concussion and a damaged thigh.
“It was with great relief the Sauber F1 Team received the news that Sergio Perez has no serious injuries after his heavy accident in the closing minutes of the final part of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix,” the team said.
“Shortly before 15:00 hrs he had crashed into the barrier after the fast tunnel section of the circuit.
“The 21-year-old Mexican was taken to the Hospital Princess Grace in Monaco from where the team received further information at 16:25 hrs: The doctors said Perez had suffered concussion and a sprained thigh, but no broken bones and, following a scan, they could find no further injuries.
“The reason for the accident will be investigated and the team will update the media as soon as it has any further information.”
The accident was an uncanny echo of Nico Rosberg’s one this morning in morning practice, David Coulthard’s in 2008 and Jenson Button’s in 2003. Early hypotheses will focus on the nature of the track surface at that critical point just outside the tunnel where F1 cars are at or very near maximum speed.