LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: The wrecked remains of Sergio Perez's Force India is hauled off the track during the first practice session ahead of the 2015 Hungarian GP. Image: AP / Darko Vojinovic
BUDAPEST, Hungary - 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 GP on Friday (July 24).
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.
CRASH AT THE HUNGARORING
The crash came only three days after drivers attended the funeral of Jules Bianchi, who died in hospital due to injuries sustained at the 2014 Japanese GP nine months earlier.
All the cars carried tributes to the 25-year-old, the first driver to die from race injuries since 1994.
As it happened: 2015 Hungarian GP - First practice
Perez told reporters of his crash at the Hungaroring: "It was a really bad accident, pretty unlucky 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."
Force India will miss the day's second practice session as Perez's car is too badly damaged and investigations into the suspension problem which caused the crash are ongoing.
Perez said: "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."
The morning session re-started after the Force India was cleared away 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 Daniel Ricciardo, 2014 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 their tyres until shortly before the session started.
Both sides said the issue had been resolved.
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Formula 1 series.