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FIA upholds penalty for Perez

SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) - Force India has failed in its bid to overturn a five-place grid penalty for Sergio Perez at Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.

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Formula One's governing body on Friday upheld the stewards' decision at the June 8 Canadian GP to punish the Mexican driver after a high-speed collision with Felipe Massa's Williams.

Racing in fourth and fifth positions respectively, both were eyeing a podium finish until Massa clipped Perez's left rear wheel going into the final lap. Stewards ruled Perez came off his race line.

A FIA statement said ''the defense of (Perez') position occurred in the braking area ... any right to defend by using the whole track must occur prior to any braking area. Accordingly (Perez) was not entitled to defend his position in the manner he did.''

Force India had asked for a review of the initial decision as Perez, who was taken to the hospital following the incident, had not been able to give his opinion during the hearing immediately after the Montreal race.

FIA acknowledged the ''exceptional circumstances'' and handed Perez a chance to give his view on the crash Friday.

Perez and Massa, who both avoided injuries during the crash, have been publicly blaming each other for the collision.

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