Veteran team boss Peter Sauber has ranked Sergio Perez's inspired second place in last weekend's wet-dry Malaysian Grand Prix above the team's sole victory.
Reflecting on the relative success of Sunday - in which Perez made the most of an early switch to full wet Pirellis and then chased down double world champion Fernando Alonso on intermediates and slicks through the second half of the race - Sauber admitted that he had been very impressed with his young protégé.
“The feeling is fantastic, of course,” the Swiss team boss told SPEED.com
, “'Checo' did an incredible race.
"I was so surprised after the tyre change, as he was in front with wet tyres, with intermediate tyres, and then also with slick tyres. He's young and I think he has a good future, but the car has to be good also, otherwise you can't do that."
Accepting that there was no point getting carried away by the result, Sauber explained that Perez's performance had meant more than the best result gained by any other in a car carrying his name - even Robert Kubica's victory at the head of a BMW-Sauber 1-2 in the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix.
“Don't forget that, in Montreal, we were very lucky with the [pit-lane] crash between Kimi [Raikkonen] and [Lewis] Hamilton,” he pointed out, referring to an unlikely incident that removed to frontrunning rivals early in the race.
Ironically, the result could see Perez poached by Ferrari to be Alonso's new team-mate, a move that could yet come before the end of the season given Felipe Massa's current form. Sauber, however, continues to play down the speculation.
“He has no contact with Ferrari," he insisted, "He is in the [Ferrari] academy, but it's nothing special.”