Sergio Perez says he’s worked with Esteban Ocon to mend their fraught relationship as Force India team-mates after it was confirmed the pair would remain together at the British team for 2018.

Perez confirmed his one-year contract extension with Force India during the Singapore race weekend, which will see him remain as Ocon’s team-mate next season despite clashing in a number of occasions this year.

While Ocon was denied a chance to pass Perez in Canada in his hunt for a potential podium, the pair collided on track in Azerbaijan which again denied the team a shot at the rostrum. Their in-team war came to a head during the Belgium Grand Prix when they collided again, effectively taking Perez out of the race, which pushed Force India to create rules of engagement between its drivers.

Since the Spa-Francorchamps clash both drivers have secured consecutive points finishes in Italy and Singapore which has led to a truce being called between the pair in order to focus on helping Force India secure fourth place in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship.

Perez says since the ‘lowest point in Belgium’ the pair have enjoyed clear the air talks and are determined to work together to benefit the team.

“I think at some point we were not working well together, that came quite apparent,” Perez said. “Things have changed lately and I think we reached the lowest point in Belgium and I think since then things have moved on. We hit the lowest point and after that we can only go forward. Now we are working well together and that is important for the benefit of the team.

“After Baku we never cleared up the air enough and I think the emotions were still there. What happened there was very particular, not selecting the right engine mode, not having the right energy, having the contact. There were so many things that happened.

“The good thing is now we have cleared up the air and we are working well for the benefit of the team. Especially towards next year we really have to maximise every single point if we want to keep our fourth place.”

Perez says he trusts Ocon to abide by any rules of engagement and race fairly the next time the pair take on each other in an on-track battle.

“I think he understands that this cannot carry on,” he said. “At the end of the day we are just another employee of the team and we have hundreds of people working so hard for us so it is important that we maximise the team result.”



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