Sergio Perez has brought his best ever season in Formula 1 to a fitting conclusion as he notched up a fifth top six finish of the year in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Arguably his and Force India's strongest race weekend of the year, a stark contrast to the difficult start when it was struggling with interim VJM08, Perez was never outside the top four in free practice and proceeded to start from the second row.
In what would prove a fairly lonely race for the Mexican, only the fast-advancing Sebastian Vettel would get the better of him, Perez bringing the car home in fifth place as Force India firmly established itself as the third fastest team of weekend ahead of Williams and Red Bull.
Indeed, it would be the ideal conclusion to a season of two halves for Perez, the introduction of the B-spec car mid-season transforming his fortunes and yielding five top six finishes in the latter half of the year, including a podium in Russia.
“It feels great to end the season with a strong performance and I'm very satisfied with how everything has gone this weekend – both in qualifying and the race. We pushed hard to try and beat Vettel, but he had too much pace on the supersofts and it wasn't possible to hold him back.
“The rest of the race was straightforward for me, with no big dramas, because I was on my own looking after the tyres. When I was running fourth I was pushing very hard to stay within Vettel's pit window, which took a lot from my tyres and meant that Ricciardo was able to get close to me at the end of the race. Fortunately I had enough left to hold him off.
“I think we got the maximum that was available to us and we can be proud of our performance. Looking back on the whole season it's been my best year in Formula One and the most successful year for the team. There is a lot of potential for next season and we will be aiming even higher.”