Formula One: Perez avoids injury after car flips and lands upside down at Hungarian GP

Mexican driver Sergio Perez of Force India standing next to his overturned car during the Hungarian GP's first practice session.
Mexican driver Sergio Perez of Force India standing next to his overturned car during the Hungarian GP's first practice session.PHOTO: EPA
Perez's car being removed by circuit marshals following the crash.
Perez's car being removed by circuit marshals following the crash.PHOTO: AFP
Perez waving to the crowd after he escaped unharmed.
Perez waving to the crowd after he escaped unharmed.PHOTO: AFP

BUDAPEST (REUTERS) - Mexican Sergio Perez scrambled free from the wreckage of a heavy crash that left his Force India upside down on the track, halting first practice for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix on Friday.

Video replays indicated a right rear suspension failure after the car went over artificial grass at the exit to turn 11 and pitched sideways across the track and into the barriers.

The car then flipped over before coming to a halt, with Perez climbing out and walking away apparently unhurt.

The accident came only three days after drivers attended the funeral of Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who died last week in hospital of injuries sustained at the Japanese Grand Prix nine months ago.

All the cars carried tributes to the 25-year-old, the first driver to die from race injuries since 1994.

"It was a really bad accident, pretty unlucky," Perez said of his crash at the Hungaroring. "But everything's all right. 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 morning session re-started after the Force India was cleared but was again halted with five minutes remaining when Kimi Raikkonen lost the front wing of his Ferrari and spread debris across the track.

Double world champion Lewis Hamilton was fastest for Mercedes, 0.109 seconds ahead of team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg. Raikkonen was third fastest with Australian Daniel Ricciardo, last year's winner, fourth for Red Bull.

Lotus reserve Jolyon Palmer failed to set a time with the team's preparations suffering a setback when payment problems meant Pirelli did not release its tyres until shortly before the session started. Both sides said the issue has now been resolved.