Sergio Perez says battling through the field from 17th to take eighth place at the chequered flag in Singapore was 'one of the best races in my career' as he maximises his tyre strategy once again to see Force India back into fourth in team championship.
The Mexican driver, becoming synonymous with masterclasses in tyre management, once again produced a flawless drive which included a 36 lap stint on soft tyres to shuffle through the pack into eighth.
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Having been handed an eight-place grid penalty for failing to slow down sufficiently and also overtaking under waved yellows in qualifying (which was later reduced to seven with Romain Grosjean's gearbox change) Perez says he raced intelligently not to get caught up in mid-race battles which would potentially ruin his tyres and ultimate pace by the finish.
“I am so happy about tonight's performance; it surely ranks as one of the best races in my career,” Perez said. “To be able to do 36 laps on one set of soft tyres, in this heat, and to keep my position under pressure from Kvyat is a big achievement.
“Pitting on lap one put us behind Gutierrez, we lost a lot of time behind him and it was very hard on my tyres, which was not good for what was effectively a one-stop race. We knew stopping one time less than our rivals was the only way we could score points, so managing the tyres was crucial.
"There was no point fighting with Fernando [Alonso] after his last stop: he was in a different race and I knew I couldn't afford to destroy my tyres that early in the stint. It was the same with Max [Verstappen] – on a day like this I had to race intelligently and pick my fights to make the strategy work.”
F1 World Championship Standings (After Singapore GP)
Coupled with the Williams failure to secure any points in Singapore Perez has moved Force India back into fourth in the F1 World Constructors' standings and is focused on his team fortifying the position next time out in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
“It's a good result for the team and it puts us back in fourth place in the championship,” he said. “It's a shame that Nico's race finished so early, but we were able to score some good points on a difficult night.”
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