Perez says he lacked the pace to fight for podium

Force India driver Sergio Perez made a spectacular start to the Belgian Grand Prix, but a lack of pace meant he had to be content with a fifth place finish.

The Mexican driver swept past Valtteri Bottas and a slow-starting Nico Rosberg to move into second at the first corner, and came close to taking the lead from Lewis Hamilton going through Eau Rouge and approaching Les Combes.

Perez ran second until his first stop, battling with Daniel Ricciardo and keeping the Red Bull driver at bay, but was not happy with the two soft tyre stints at the start of the race.

"We had very high degradation on the soft tyres in the first two stints," he said after the race.

"It was a bit better on the medium, although we struggled in the middle sector with our low downforce set-up and that hurt my pace," he added after doing 23 laps on the medium tyres.

Towards the end of the race, he was overtaken by a faster Daniil Kvyat and was in a battle with Felipe Massa, which the Mexican endured to finish fifth.

"We were racing some quick cars and it was hard to fight off Romain [Grosjean] and Kvyat, so it’s clear we need to analyse our performance and see where we can improve," he said.

Fifth is Perez's best result of the 2015 season and with it, he moved to 11th in the drivers' standings with 25 points.

Team Principal Dr Vijay Mallya was delighted with his driver's performance, saying: "Perez didn't put a wheel wrong all day and was able to keep some very competitive rivals behind with an intelligent and defensive drive."

Race to forget for Hulkenberg

Perez's teammate Nico Hulkenberg had a day to forget after he retired from the race due to sudden "loss of power" on his way to the grid.

"We tried to understand and fix the problem on the grid, but it came back during the formation lap," said the German.

"There were a few moments when the power returned, but it disappeared again just before the start and I had to retire."

With Grosjean's podium, Lotus moved ahead of Force India by one point in the battle for fifth in the constructors' championship.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Belgian GP
Track Spa-Francorchamps
Drivers Nico Hulkenberg , Sergio Perez
Teams Force India
Article type Breaking news