McLaren new boy Sergio Perez has brought to an end a seven-race run without scoring points following his drive to ninth in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Perez last finished in the top-ten at the Singapore Grand Prix back in September, just prior to news that he had been signed by McLaren to replace Lewis Hamilton for the F1 2013 season.
Furthermore while the Mexican only just missed out on points in Australia seven days ago, when he brought his McLaren MP4-28 home in eleventh, this weekend he went two spots better, taking ninth and two championship points, no doubt much to his relief. He also set the fastest lap another little boost for the 23-year-old.
Speaking at the finish, he paid tribute to his McLaren engineers for helping him get a top-ten finish – and also revealed that he would have finished at least one spot higher up, but for an extra late pit-stop on lap 54.
“This afternoon my engineers sorted out a very good race strategy that enabled me to pass the cars immediately in front of me early on – so thank you and well done for that, guys,” Perez said.
“Unfortunately, towards the end of the race though, my tyres began to degrade a bit too much, especially my front left, and we therefore felt it would be too risky to try to drive to the finish on that set.
“Consequently, we had no real option other than to make an extra pitstop, which caused me to lose position. I still ended up ninth, however, which is two places better than I finished in Melbourne last weekend, so I think it's fair to say that we can see that progress is being made.”
“In Shanghai in two weeks' time let's hope that that upward trend continues,” he added.
McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile described Checo's performance over the Sepang weekend as 'solid' and 'plucky'.