Sergio Perez admits he wanted more than simply his first home podium, despite a hugely popular third-place result in front of an enormous and enthusiastic crowd at the Mexico City Grand Prix.
Starting from fourth, Perez escaped the first-lap drama that saw polesitter Valtteri Bottas spin and ran third for the majority of the race, closing in on Lewis Hamilton in the latter stages. The two-time grand prix winner got within a second on a number of occasions but couldn’t commit to a full move and had to settle for third, becoming the first Mexican to both lead and stand on the podium in their home race.
“Definitely, podium at home grand prix is very special,” Perez said. “I wanted more, wanted to win the race, and to finish 1-2 for the team would have been amazing.
“At the end of the day we are such competitive people that if we finish third we don’t enjoy it, but today is one of those days where I must enjoy it because the crowd, just seeing so many people so happy, and especially on the podium pretty much everyone who has been with me since day one was there, so that was special for me.”
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Perez feels his best chance of overtaking Hamilton actually came much earlier in the race, when he was about to make a pit stop to undercut the Mercedes but saw the defending champion pull into the pits ahead of him.
“It was really close — there was a lap where it was so critical to do the undercut; they pitted that lap so we did the opposite and we went long. It was a bit tricky with the lapped cars as well, I reckon we all lost some time there.
“It was close (but) I didn’t have a chance –overtaking here is really difficult, given their straight-line speed, they’re really strong on that. I didn’t have the chance, so a bit of a shame, as I think we had the pace to finish 1-2 today.”