Sergio Perez has described his weekend in Belgium with the newly reborn Force India team as "almost perfect". The Mexican crossed the line in fifth place on Sunday, entering the race on a high after qualifying in P4.
However, Perez admits there was slight disappointment with his qualifying effort. Due to the changing conditions during the final qualifying session, Perez believes that his maiden pole position was there for the taking. He had to settle for fourth and lined up alongside teammate Esteban Ocon.
Perez overtook Ocon on lap 1 of the race but didn't have the pace to keep the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas behind him. But the 28-year-old is delighted with the strong result after a difficult period for the team.
"It’s a great performance by the team and I think we executed an almost perfect weekend," said Perez. "My only disappointment is from [qualifying] because I think pole position was within reach, but we can definitely be happy about the points we have scored.
"We just couldn’t have kept the top teams behind us in the dry so to be ‘best of the rest’, with Esteban right behind me, is the most we could have done. My start was really good and I was able to place myself in the right positions during the first few corners. After that, my pace was strong and consistent. I opened a gap and after that, I was able to control my race.
"There was nothing I could do to keep Valtteri behind me - sometimes you just need to pick your fights and think of the bigger picture. I am happy with what we have achieved; we have scored some important points for the team and sent a strong message for the next few races. It’s a nice start of a new era for the team.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing