After a disappointing qualifying session on Saturday, Sergio Perez knew he was up against it starting from 18th place on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Perez’ final qualifying lap had run into local waved yellows leaving him unable to improve on his time. It meant that finishing in the points looked a tall order for the Mexican driver.
But he was able to make up 11 places in the opening laps of the race and was then fortunate with the timing of the safety car.
“I’m very proud of my team today,” he said after the race. “To finish seventh after starting from P18 is an amazing recovery.
“The first lap was very important for my race,” he confirmed. “I made up five places and was up in P13 by the end of lap one.
“I had great tyre life in the first stint,” he noted. “We stayed out as long as we could. And the safety car played into our hands just when I needed to make a pit stop.
“I think we made the most of every opportunity. The whole team – the engineers and the mechanics – played their part in executing a perfect race.
“We showed once again that we never give up on Sundays, and we can come back strong after a difficult qualifying.”
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There was further good news for Perez’ team mate Esteban Ocon, who once again also finished in the points in tenth place.
“It feels good to have both cars in the points for the third race this season,” said Perez. “We know there are still areas where we can improve, and that there is more speed to come from this car.
“We can be very happy tonight,” he concluded. “It’s our thirteenth consecutive race in the points, which is an incredible achievement.”
Perez’ comments were echoed by deputy team principal Bob Fernley.
“After a challenging qualifying session it’s very satisfying to get both cars into the points today,” he said. “The team made all the right calls and Sergio and Esteban didn’t put a wheel out of place.
“Scoring seven points is a fantastic result and moves us up to fourth place in the championship,” he added. “We are racing well, taking our opportunities and scoring important points.
“It’s a solid start to our season and gives us a good base to build on.”
GALLERY: All the action from the Bahrain Grand Prix
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