Turkey podium makes up for missed chances - Perez

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Turkey podium makes up for missed chances - Perez

Formula 1

Turkey podium makes up for missed chances - Perez

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Sergio Perez says he and his team deserved his podium in the Turkish Grand Prix after multiple missed chances this season.

The last race at Imola saw Perez appear to be comfortably set to finish on the podium after Max Verstappen’s retirement, but Racing Point opted to make a pit stop and gave up track position that he couldn’t recover. Starting from third in Turkey, Perez was immediately up to second and Racing Point chased a one-two, but Lance Stroll’s strategy didn’t work out and Lewis Hamilton passed Perez, who held off the two Ferraris for second place at the flag.

“(It means) a lot, especially coming from the last race where we really missed it on strategy,” Perez said. “I think also for the team, they deserved this one. We’ve been so close in Austria race two and in Imola, now it’s a great result for the team and still we were so close to losing it all with the Ferraris coming back at us very strong.

“Holding onto those tires was a big challenge and I think it was just about time to end the race for us. A great result and a lot of points for the team, I’m pleased with that.”

Perez held off Sebastian Vettel in a drag race to the finish line after being attacked by Charles Leclerc, and Carlos Sainz in fifth was within three seconds as he just avoided losing out to drivers on new tires after all of those behind him made a second stop for intermediates. However, with Stroll doing the same from the lead and finishing ninth, Perez says it was a difficult call for the team.

“I think at that time — especially when everyone was stopping — it would have made sense (to stop again). Early on I got the feedback that my teammate grained his tires straight away, so the team decided to keep me out a bit longer and then as the race panned out we basically carried on with that set until the end.

“At that point it was all about surviving on those inters. We were a bit stuck — we were expecting some more rain towards the end of the race and at the same time we were suffering quite a bit with the inters. I think we were going through the graining phase and I was able to control it after that. When he (Stroll) pitted there was also the idea of trying another set because my set was pretty worn out but then the team informed me that he grained straight away and the pace was not coming, so we decided to stay out. In hindsight, probably given how much we suffered in the final laps we probably could have pitted for another set.”

Perez says he was not under team orders to stay behind Stroll after closing up on his teammate prior to Stroll’s second pit stop.

“No, it was basically about that we are in a very tight fight to get third in the constructors (championship) and that’s really what matters to us. So it was all about getting both cars as high as possible. I think the lead car at the time was Lance and at that time we thought the best thing to do was to stop. It didn’t work out for him but in the end we managed to score points, we outscored our competition and there’s still three very important races for us in the championship.”

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