Sergio Perez insists that Sauber has to keep pushing to improve despite his stunning run to second in the Malaysian Grand Prix at the weekend.

The Mexican drove the race of his life to challenge Fernando Alonso for victory, with his hopes of a maiden win in F1 only coming to an end when he ran wide in the closing laps while almost on terms with the double champion.

Perez was also the fastest man on track for much of the race in changeable conditions at Sepang to take his best finish to date but he refused to get too carried away with the result despite feeling a first win might not be too far down the line.

"The target is to keep improving our overall performance and the car," he said. "We have to push hard and, of course, we have to stay realistic. Although the pace in the race was good we should not forget that this result came after a very special race in extraordinary conditions.

" Ultimately I always wanted to win races and I strongly believe my first win in Formula One will come sooner or later - in an ideal world it will happen this year."

The former GP2 racer admitted he had felt mixed emotions in the immediate aftermath of the race but on reflection, said he was proud of his result - which now looks set to be celebrated in style when Perez returns home to Mexico before the next round of the year in China.

"For sure it was a great race and in a way a great feeling," he said. "But initially I was a bit disappointed because I thought maybe I could have won it, although nobody knows what in the end would have happened if I had managed to attack Fernando and whether I would have got by him or not.

"Meanwhile, of course, I realised that having come second is also a great result for us and is a perfect boost for the entire team, which is working very hard. I am happy for everybody in the Sauber F1 Team."

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