Sergio Perez says he turned in 'one of my best performances in Formula One' after finishing eighth and was happy to score points in front of his home crowd.
As the Mexican Grand Prix made a welcomed return to Formula 1 after a 23-year absence, Perez raced in front of his home crowds for the first time in 12 years, after switching to Europe to pursue his career.
The Force India driver came to his home GP after two consecutive strong results with a third place in Russian and a fifth place in United States. However, a badly timed safety car meant the Mexican's dream of a similarly strong finish was quickly dissipated.
“The race today was probably one of the most difficult of my career because I was very unlucky with the timing of the safety car, which really didn't help my one-stop strategy,” Perez said. “We chose not to pit when it came out because we thought there was a chance to jump Nico [Hulkenberg] and Felipe [Massa], but in reality that didn't happen.”
The decision not to pit under the safety car left Perez bunched up in the pack with drivers around him on fresher tyres and the Mexican says he's thrilled to keep Max Verstappen behind to claim eighth.
“I was a bit worried because I knew the final fifteen laps would be very difficult,” he explained. “To stay ahead of them and finish in eighth place is probably one of my best performances in Formula One and I'm very happy I could score points in front of my home crowd.
“What a week this has been here in Mexico. The atmosphere has been amazing and there were so many special moments. I am very lucky to have this huge support from my country and I will remember this weekend forever. I think everybody has enjoyed the energy of the crowd and this must surely be one of the most popular races on the calendar now.”