After fierce clashes between the two earlier in the season, Sergio Perez has said he understands Force India's decision to not allow him to pass team-mate Esteban Ocon in favour of bringing home maximum points at Suzuka.

The Force India pair have been involved in two on-track clashes so far this season in Azerbajian and Belgium which have both cost the team points, while Ocon was also left frustrated and not being allowed to pass Perez in Canada, which resulted in the squad giving the pair rules of engagement for the rest of 2017.

Perez had been catching Ocon after the pit stops during the Japanese Grand Prix and looked set to take on his team-mate for sixth place but Force India gave the Mexican driver the red light to challenge for position.

Perez says he accepts the decision for the team’s safe double points haul but was confident of passing Ocon if given the opportunity.

"I am very happy for the team with this great result, which was definitely the maximum we could achieve today,” Perez said. "I felt I was quicker than Esteban in the second stint and I had an opportunity to overtake him at the final restart, but we followed the team’s instructions.

"We knew this would be the case so it wasn’t a surprise, and swapping us wouldn’t have made a difference in terms of points for the team, so I understand the team’s perspective.

"In the end, Esteban did a great job during the whole weekend, the last two races have been really strong for us and I'm very pleased with he results we have achieved."

Ocon said that the tightness of the midfield had made managing a one-stop challenging and prevented them being about to maintain the P3 he gained at the start. The French driver made a lightning getaway to pass Ricciardo on the first lap before going third with Vettel falling back due to his engine issue.

"I tried my best to keep Ricciardo and Bottas behind, but they were just too quick and I had to let them go and focus on my race,” Ocon said. "The main challenge today was managing my pace because it was a one-stop race and it was important to look after the tyres so they would be strong at the end.

"I was running ahead of Checo, we had nothing to gain from the cars ahead and a comfortable margin to the cars behind. So the priority was to bring the car home and score the big points."

Force India were the fourth fastest team at Suzuka and secured another strong result as they head to Austin closing in on fourth in the F1 world constructors' championship.


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