Perez hails "great" form after podium finish

Sergio Perez was delighted with a third place finish at the Russian Grand Prix, claiming a fifth podium of his career and his second with Force India.

Starting seventh in the race, Perez got himself up to sixth ahead of the Red Bull duo of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, after his teammate Nico Hulkenberg's retirement on the opening lap.

The two safety car periods aided the Mexican driver, as the team decided to take a strategic gamble to pit him early that paid off in the end.

This was his second podium with the team after last year's Bahrain Grand Prix, as well as his first this season, and naturally, the Mexican was elated with the effort.

"I am going through a great moment in my career, from where we are it is difficult to realise," Perez said after the race.

"It makes me confident, we were not expecting the podium at all."

Perez, after his pitstop, was stuck behind late stoppers Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr, which he revealed was to save tyres in order to go until the end.

Once they pitted, he was involved in a big scrap for the final podium spot with Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, both of whom were chasing him towards the end of the race.

"I lost the podium place one lap before the end but it was very difficult to hold Valtteri [Bottas] and [Kimi] Raikkonen back at that stage.

"I could not brake very hard, I was at risk of flat-spotting tyres, there was a certain level of risk that I was able to take and I thought if not a podium, let's come back with points." he added.

But contact between Raikkonen and Bottas on the last lap, just after the Finnish pair had demoted Perez, cleared the way for the Force India driver to stand on the podium.

"It seemed like everything went away from us, at that point (when Bottas and Raikkonen overtook me)," he said. "I was just really unhappy with myself, but until the last lap I gave it my all.

"I had done plenty of laps with my tyres, so had a massive degradation on my front tyres, but in the last lap when it came it was just an amazing feeling – very nice to give my second podium to this team."

While Hulkenberg retired, Perez's podium  means Force India moves to 92 points in the constructors' championship, 26 clear of Lotus for fifth place.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Russian GP
Track Sochi Autodrom
Drivers Nico Hulkenberg , Sergio Perez
Teams Force India
Article type Breaking news