It was a return to form and the top step of the podium for Sergio Perez as he drove a masterful race at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday evening local time.
The Mexican took the lead at the start and fended off consistent pressure from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to take win number four of his career.
“Yeah, it was certainly, I think, my best. My best performance,” said Perez when asked if it was the greatest drive of his career to date.
“I controlled the race, although the warm-up was very difficult. The last few laps was so intense. I really… I didn’t feel it that much in the car but when I got out of it, I felt it. You know, I pushed. I gave everything for the win today.”
The critical area of the race turned out to be the start. Checo had far superior traction in the second phase of the start and jumped the Ferrari of Leclerc into turn 1.
From that point onwards, it was all about controlling the pace and tyres, as well as avoiding any mistakes in extremely slippery conditions.
He also survived tremendous pressure from Leclerc as the Monegasque hassled him on the restart when they switched to slicks.
“It felt great. It was such a good start, first of all, which really, was great, you know, to really do the first… I basically felt that I had the race on the first section, on the Inters, under control. I could really do what Charles was doing, and open-up the gap. If was important to make sure we had good tyre life,” stated Perez.
“I honestly was expecting the track to dry-up earlier than it did. I think if George wasn’t out there, there will be a lot more people going earlier.
“But at the same time, I mean, it was such a tricky race. I think the keys to the race today was to control the pace on the Inter, have good pace when we need it, and the second one was to survive on the slicks in the beginning, because we were with extremely poor conditions.
“I think sometimes people, when they’re looking at you, underestimate how hard it is, and how easy it is for us to make a mistake. We basically were going to few places where it was properly damp, properly wet and it was super, super tricky, to make a mistake.
“I had a lot of moments, so first of all, I’m really happy I finished the race. But secondly, to win this race. It’s super special.”
Perez expanded on why it was his best race in the post-race press conference, stating the intensity of the Grand Prix and battle with Charles is why he felt this was his greatest success to date.
“I think how intense it was, you know? To keep Charles behind, especially after the restart, when the warm-up was super hard and we were going basically… half the track was on the dry side but the other half was good enough for Inters – and we were on the slick. So not to make a mistake, and control Charles, who was really strong in the early phases.
“But then, I think the pace I had in the last few laps was really strong because to basically be able to have that was really, really strong.”
¡¡Cuánto necesitaba este momento!! Ganamos y pusimos a nuestro país donde se lo merece. 🇲🇽— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) October 2, 2022
Excelente trabajo @redbullracing
I really needed this moment!! We won and put our country where it belongs!!
Excellent team work @redbullracing 🙌 pic.twitter.com/h4JyLIRoYU