By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Sergio Perez appeared to have his third podium of the season in sight, but a mix of strategy relegated him further down the running order en route to finishing seventh in the Japanese Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old Mexican had a strong start and pushed as high as third before falling in the clutches of Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
The Sahara Force India driver was involved in several intense battles on the track, settling on a two-stop strategy that helped him outpace teammate Nico Hulkenberg and Constructors’ Championship rivals Williams.
“I enjoyed myself today and I feel we made all the right decisions during the race,” Perez said. “The start was good fun – I had a clean run going into turn one and ended up in third place.
“I tried my best to hold on to the position, but I knew it would be difficult to keep some very quick cars behind me so I needed to be sensible and choose my battles. Our car was very quick today and the two-stop strategy was definitely the correct one for us. It meant we needed to overtake the Williams cars on the track because they were on a different strategy, but fortunately I could make the moves on them very quickly.
“The end of the race, after all the pit stops, was just a case of looking after the tires and keeping out of trouble. We scored some very useful points today – we need to keep doing the same in the final four races.”