Sergio Perez admits that he understands Force India's reasoning for keeping him behind Esteban Ocon during the Japanese Grand Prix. Near the end of the race, the pair found themselves running in sixth and seventh place with a double points finish on the cards.
Perez and Ocon have had a number of on-track collisions this year, with Force India taking the decision after the Belgian Grand Prix to not allow them to race. Perez came on the radio, asking if he could attack, to which the team replied 'no'.
"I felt I was quicker than Esteban in the second stint and I had an opportunity to overtake him at the final restart, but we followed the team’s instructions," said Perez. "We knew this would be the case so it wasn’t a surprise, and swapping us wouldn’t have made a difference in terms of points for the team, so I understand the team’s perspective. In the end, Esteban did a great job during the whole weekend."
"I am very happy for the team with this great result, which was definitely the maximum we could achieve today. It was a relatively easy race: we had a strong qualifying session and we had good race pace, so we spent a lot of time on our own. The last two races have been really strong for us and I am very pleased with the results we have achieved."
Perez's home country of Mexico was hit by a devastating earthquake last month, which has affected Perez emotionally. The drivers took to the podium to take a photo, with the message 'Fuerza Mexico' in full display.
"The ‘Fuerza Mexico’ message on the podium before the race meant a lot to me and I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone in the paddock.," said Perez. "The support my country has received in the last few weeks has been incredible and I hope we can keep helping, especially as we get ready for the race in Mexico later this month."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing