Sergio Perez says “it’s hard to know how things would have gone” had he been given the green light to overtake Esteban Ocon but was content to still pick up useful points Force India at the United States Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver produced an impressive undercut to climb to seventh place in the opening stages of the US race but his strategy forced him into a tyre conservation run to the chequered flag. After his Force India team denied him clearance to overtake Ocon, as a result of the team’s rules of engagement after the pair’s recent on-track clashes, Perez was eventually reeled in by Carlos Sainz Jr.

After dropping to eighth place the Force India driver then had to fend off Felipe Massa and Daniil Kvyat at the chequered flag to keep hold of his position – which left him wondering what could have been possible if he was allowed past Ocon earlier in the race. It was the second straight race Perez was denied permission to pass Ocon having found himself in a similar position behind the French driver in Japan.

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“It was a difficult race and I am very happy we managed to score some points,” Perez said. “We tried a very aggressive strategy to make up ground after yesterday’s qualifying session and we made a very early stop to undercut Massa and Sainz.

“We managed to do so and I passed Alonso on track, and then got close to Esteban. At the time, I thought I had much better pace because he was saving his tyres, but being in traffic really damaged my tyres and I fell back.

“It’s hard to know how things would have gone if I had got past Esteban - maybe I could have saved my tyres a bit better. When Sainz was behind me, I couldn’t do anything because his tyres were much fresher.

“Towards the end, I had a hard time defending from Kvyat and Massa, and I really struggled to keep Felipe behind in the last few laps. My tyres were on the limit, but I am happy I was able to finish eighth. It’s been a good result for the team so we can be happy.”