Sergio Perez believes his intermediate tyres would have “exploded” had he needed to complete one more lap in Formula 1’s Turkish Grand Prix.

The Mexican held off a late attack from the Ferrari duo to cling onto finish second in Sunday’s wet-weather race around a slippery Istanbul Park circuit and claim his first podium of the season.

Perez stayed out on a set of intermediate tyres for 48 laps, while Racing Point pitted his teammate Lance Stroll for a fresh set of intermediates with 22 laps to go as he plummeted from first to ninth.

"I told my team on the radio, I think one more lap on those tyres and they would have exploded," Perez said.

"The vibrations were extremely bad towards the end. But I think it also made that race, looking after them in the beginning [and] towards the end with drying conditions.

"The team did a fantastic job in terms of strategy reading the race. I think Lewis today was extremely strong, and towards the end we died, but we managed to get a good result.”

Perez came under pressure from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen until the Dutchman spun while attempting a pass at Turn 10, while he also had to overcome a late challenge from the lead Ferrari of Charles Leclerc to seal second, his best finish since the 2012 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Explaining his battle with Verstappen, Perez said: “I couldn't see anything on my mirrors.

"My mirrors were full of fog, so my engineer was basically telling me the gaps and so on. And then all of the sudden, I saw Max like running wide and he disappeared.

"The other one was with Charles. I wasn't aware that he was so close to me. So in the final lap it was pretty good battle with him. He overtook me into Turn 10, and then I overtook him back into 12. It was a chaotic race, but a strong result for us.”

The result marked Perez’s best finish for the Racing Point team he will leave at the end of the season after the Silverstone squad opted to instead sign Sebastian Vettel for 2021.

Asked if the result felt like the perfect leaving present, Perez replied: "I think as always you know you have to be delivering weekend after weekend.

"You are as good as your last race, so it's important to finish on a high. The rest is not in my hands."

 

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