Sergio Perez admits “it was really a very emotional podium for me” as he finished third at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The result was Force India's first podium since Giancarlo Fisichella finished second at the Belgian Grand Prix in 2009, with Perez delivering in only his third race for the team. Having been discarded by McLaren at the end of last season after a podium-less year, Perez admitted his confidence was very low but said it made his result at Sakhir all the more special.
“It means a lot to me,” Perez said. “There is no secret that I had a really tough time at McLaren. For me, joining a top team as a young driver who was very hungry for success I was really thinking that it was my biggest chance ever of fighting for the title which is the biggest aim of my career. When it came I found that it was a really big disappointment, I was very frustrated so maybe I didn't act in the best possible way.
“I didn't cope with the situation as best as I could but all I cared about at that time is winning. So looking at my year I never had the opportunity to even fight for the podium. Then at the end it became even more disappointing when McLaren decided not to keep me, so it was a good impact for me.
“I'm very happy to come back and prove to myself mainly that I am as good a driver as I was in 2012 and even better so it was really a very emotional podium for me.”
Asked by Crash.net
if the fact that he'd been ahead of the McLarens to finish on the podium made the result even sweeter, Perez replied: “Yeah it definitely does.
“We've been strong all season but we've been having so many issues in my car especially. In Malaysia I couldn't even start the race and other races … so I'm very happy and very emotional about this podium.”