Sergio Perez hailed his pass on Lando Norris late on during the 2019 Formula 1 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as “one of the best of my career”.

The Racing Point driver ran long in the opening stint at Yas Marina and charged through the order in the closing stages, before capping off a fine drive with a brilliant around-the-outside move on Norris’ McLaren at Turn 11 to seal seventh place on the final tour.

The result helped Perez clinch 10th spot in the drivers’ championship, three points ahead of Norris, who rounded out his rookie F1 campaign in 11th.

“The first part was very messy,” Perez explained.

“I got a big hit from Gasly which made me lose a position to Magnussen, and then DRS wasn’t working so I spent a lot of the race behind him, I lost a lot of track time.

“Then it was a case of being patient, I had some free air to push, and we did a very intelligent race, pushing when we needed and then the last move on Lando was one of the best of my career.

“Into Turn 11 he dived on the inside and I went on the outside. Also great for him as he’s very young, very aggressive but fair, and it’s always great to fight drivers like him.

“It’s great to be always very close and fair, there’s never going to be contact, good racing on the last lap.”

Norris described his defence as “too fair” and said Perez made him look like “a shit driver”.

“He did me around the outside on the back straight on the run to Turn 11,”

“I defended, went to the inside, he committed around the outside and had much better tyres. I was a bit nervous about locking up or doing something stupid but I just wasn’t forceful enough.

“I didn’t change my mindset enough. I did the whole race being so calm and relaxed and looking after the tyres and driving slowly, and in this moment I needed to be aggressive and forceful and change how I was as a driver.

“I didn’t do that basically. I didn’t think he’d be going around the outside, I need to release the brakes and give him less room. I was a shit driver basically in my mind because he was the one guy I had to beat today and I didn’t.

“Because of that I’m annoyed, the whole race led up to that one moment and I failed in what I needed to do.”

 

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