McLaren team mates Sergio Perez and Jenson Button started on the same row of the grid for this weekend's Indian Grand Prix, but their fortunes took very different paths from the moment that they headed into turn 1.

Perez got off to a good start and then gained an average of one position per haps over the first nine laps of the race as other drivers opted for earlier pit stops and the road cleared ahead of him.

"Unlike the past two or three weekends, I was finally able to enjoy a clean race without any bad luck!" said Perez.

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By lap ten he was in second place, which he kept for the next 11 laps until finally displaced by Sebastian Vettel - no shame there, as the newly-crowned four-time world champion was once again in a different class at the Buddh International Circuit on Sunday afternoon.

Perez continued to make his first set of tyres work through to lap 28 and then pitted for a brief stint on the dreaded soft options, before changing again on lap 33 for a return to the primes. Although that put him down to tenth place, a combination of head-down determination and more pit stops for drivers ahead of him allowed him to work his way back into fifth place by the finish.

"Fifth place is a great result for me," he said. "In the closing laps, it was a fantastic feeling to get past Kimi [Raikkonen] and Lewis [Hamilton] in a single move. I just braked as late as I could for Turn Four to try and keep Lewis behind - and I managed to do it!"

For Perez, it was proof that he could still deliver in the car and fully deserved his place in the team for 2014, although he admitted that this was not a done deal and that his position was still under threat.

"Without question, I have a lot of pressure on my shoulders, but it's always sweeter when you perform well while under pressure," he said. "I'm extremely satisfied.

"It's been a tough season, but today's result is a promising sign and really motivates the whole workforce ahead of the last three races, where we'll be doing our best to get more strong finishes under our belts."

He sent his congratulations to the newly crowned world champion Sebastian Vettel, and added: "I really hope we can fight against him next season!"

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh was certainly sounding impressed: "He didn't put a foot wrong: he made a strong start, pushed hard throughout the race, and pulled off some great overtaking moves, all while carefully looking after his tyres, particularly on his long, first stint."

Meanwhile there was little joy on the other side of the McLaren garage for Jenson Button, who admitted that "today was just one of those days" after it had all gone wrong in the first corner.

"Exiting Turn Four on the first lap, I got hit quite hard on the right-hand-side by Fernando," he explained. "I don't quite know why he couldn't make to the apex, as I'd given him loads of room, but he hit me in the side pretty hard. The contact damaged the car and damaged the wheel rim, which also gave me a puncture, although it didn't cause me an issue until about three laps later.

"It was an extra shame that I was running on the medium tyre when I had the puncture, as that was the one you wanted to run long around here, so that incident destroyed my strategy for the rest of the afternoon," he sighed. "Without that contact, and the resultant puncture, I think we could have had some fun out there. It's just a shame, because our car was quick around here - Checo showed just what was possible by driving an extremely good race."

"That contact cracked the rim of his right-rear wheel and caused a puncture," elaborated Whitmarsh. "Thereafter, his was destined to be a three-stopper, which was always going to be hard work. Unfortunately, in the closing laps, he reported a mis-shift in the gearbox, so we stopped his car as a precautionary measure before the end.

Button for one will be happy to put India behind him and jet off to Abu Dhabi for next weekend, while Sergio Perez looks to have new wind in his sails as he heads into the final three races of the season, which could very well determine what happens to him regarding an F1 race seat in 2014.