Perez stars in Russia: Third place finish ensures history in Sochi
It was a race to remember for all involved with Force India last weekend, as Sergio Perez claimed the constructor’s third podium finish in their eight-year history.
Edging out the likes of William’s Felipe Massa and Red Bulls’ Daniil Kyvat, the 25-year-old Mexican had one of the best races of his career to finish third in the Sochi Grand Prix.
Having seen teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, spin out on the first lap, all hopes for the side remained with Perez.
Last season, the Russian track proved difficult for both Force India drivers with neither managing to score any points in a rare blip during the 2014 campaign.
Despite admitting that he had all but settled for fifth spot, a final lap crash between Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas, presented the opportunity to clinch a podium finish, and Perez swooped at the chance.
Speaking after the race, he said: “It feels great to be back on the podium and to be able to celebrate with my team.
“I have been enjoying my time with the team so much and this is a great reward for all the work we have put in together.
“The call to pit under the safety car turned out to be very good because it gave us track position ahead of all the battles.
“With one lap to go, when Valtteri (Bottas) and Kimi (Raikkonen) passed me, it felt like this result had been taken from us: I was obviously disappointed but I also knew I had given all I could during the race.
“There was no more I could do because I had been on the same tyres for more than 40 laps.
“When I finally managed to get back into third it was just an amazing feeling. I am happy I was able to share this second podium with my team.
“It's a very special result and one that fills me with expectation ahead of the races in Austin and especially Mexico City.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal added his praise for the young driver and called it a ‘perfect’ strategy.
“We have to compliment the team on a great performance and a perfect strategy,” he said.
“Pitting Sergio under the safety car was an aggressive call, but it paid off. We knew we would be under pressure towards the end, but having track position was crucial and the events on the final lap vindicated our decision.
“Checo did a great job defending against Ricciardo first and Bottas later until the very final stages and then we had some good fortune on the final lap.”