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Ocon seeks to cool row with Force India team mate Perez

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Belgian Grand Prix
© XPB 

Force India driver Esteban Ocon has tried to smooth over relations with his team mate Sergio Perez following their clashes at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The pair twice made contact on track at Spa-Francorchamps, with Perez squeezing Ocon into the barrier on the run up to Eau Rouge. The second occasion left Ocon with a damaged front wing, and Perez with a right-rear puncture.

Ocon completed the race and finished in ninth place. However, his team mate was eventually forced to retire due to damage from the collision. Ocon firmly blamed the Mexican for both clashes. He went on to pour oil on the fire by suggesting that Perez had twice tried to kill him.

But the Frenchman later tried to put some distance between himself and those initial remarks. He admitted that he had been angry after the race, and had now cooled down.

"In the heat of the moment and given the dangerous situation, I was very much upset," he said on Twitter.

Perez admitted responsibility for the first clash, but not the second which he attributed to an "optimistic" move by Ocon.

A calmer Ocon was evidently trying to build bridges and to stop the escalating feud from derailing the rest of Force India's season.

“We will be moving forward, we are a team and I appreciate my team-mate apologising,” he said Ocon. “We want to work better together.

"I’m committed to the success of Force India, and I’m confident as a team we will put this behind us to reach even greater levels of success together."

Team owner Dr Viyay Mallya has already moved to stop repeats of the costly clashes between his drivers seen at Spa and previously at Baku.

"I have no choice but to implement a policy of team orders in the interest of safety and to protect the team’s position in the constructors’ championship," he said ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Exactly what form the team orders will take is uncertain. However, Mallya has made it clear that that both drivers are now on probation.

Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer has suggested that if either driver breaches the new rules of engagement, they could face a one-race ban from the team.

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