It was another strong Sunday for Sergio Perez as he scored a consecutive podium, the 12th of his Grand Prix winner.
Perez started P4 on the grid and retained that after the first lap. However, he struggled to stay close to the Mercedes’ and Verstappen in the early laps as he had very little grip due to the rain overnight and running a lower downforce package compared to Mercedes.
“We’ve had a good race. We found the track conditions very different today to what we expected, especially at the start of the race. We had very little grip — running less downforce on the car to the Mercedes made our first stint pretty tricky. My first five laps and the last five laps of my first stint, if you take them away then my race could have looked a lot better.
Perez’s long first stint paid off brilliantly. With Bottas, Verstappen and Hamilton all boxing between laps 18-20, the Mexican extended and pitted a full six laps after the Finnish driver.
He nailed Valtteri Bottas for P3 into turn 10 with five laps to go and finished less than 6s adrift of Lewis Hamilton at the end of the race.
“We did a good strategy. We went very long on that first stint, which really paid out. We lacked a couple of laps to get Lewis as well. But it’s a good result for the team and it’s showing that definitely there’s some good progress and we have to keep working on it to get this consistency and take another step very soon.”
The 31-year-old was not concerned about receiving a penalty for allegedly overtaking Bottas off track. He was already fully ahead heading into T10 and ran a bit wide. He wasn’t given a penalty.
“It was quite tricky because we were reaching the lapped cars, with the DRS and the traffic ahead it was pretty hard,” Perez said.
“I went around him into Turn 10. I was already ahead, I tried to give him as much room as possible so that meant I went off the track. I came back and basically I had no advantage as the move was already done and it was mainly done to give him room and to avoid any possible contact at that point.”