Sergio Perez admitted he was sad to finish his time at Racing Point with a DNF in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but is proud of his time with the team after finishing fourth in the drivers’ championship.
Racing Point chose to replace Perez with Sebastian Vettel for 2021, leaving the Mexican currently without a drive for next year while he waits for Red Bull to decide whether to retain Alex Albon. Although his final race ended in disappointment after as an MGU-K issue forced him to retire nine laps into an impressive drive from the back of the grid, Perez said the win in Bahrain a week ago is a reminder that there were a number of high points in a tough season.
“It’s a bit sad leaving the team this way, but I told my boys – some of them were crying – you just have to remember what happened last weekend, what happened in the entire season,” Perez told Sky Sports. “It wasn’t an easy year for us. We still managed to finish P4 in the drivers’ championship, we missed two races with COVID, reliability issues hit us really hard this season.
“In the end, it’s a shame that we just missed out on third in the constructors’ championship. Well done to McLaren, they really deserved that, they did a tremendous job with the car that they had. The drivers delivered weekend after weekend so well done to them.
“We had a tremendous year. I think when the engine broke in Bahrain we did about 18, 19 races consecutively in the points. It just shows how strong, how consistency we were throughout the season.”
Perez helped save the team when it was known as Force India back in 2018, launching legal action that put it into administration and allowed a takeover to happen, and he says that will always be something he’s particularly proud of.
“I am leaving very happy. I am always will be very proud of my boys. I think saving their jobs at the time was one of the best decisions i’ve taken in my life. That team will always be my favorite team in Formula 1 because they gave me all and I gave them back everything so I look forward to seeing them very successful. The future is looking very bright for them so I look forward to seeing them more races.”
Christian Horner pointing to a Red Bull decision coming this week, Perez still holds out hope of getting a drive in 2021.
“As I’ve said before until they don’t announce a driver line-up, all the teams, I still have a chance and hope,” he said. “Who knows what will happen next.”