Perez: 'Ninth place a decent reward for a difficult race'

Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM11
ยฉ XPB 

Sergio Perez had a tough qualifying session on Saturday for the Spanish Grand Prix which left him down in 15th place on the grid. But he battled his way back into the points on Sunday.

The Mexican was mired in 13th place for much of the opening stint of the race, despite a number of retirements on the first lap as a result of Romain Grosjean's accident.

"I made a good start but I had to go wide to avoid the accident with Grosjean and I lost a lot of positions," he explained. "It really complicated everything for me, because it put me behind a lot of other cars."

But once he made his first pit stop on lap 26, he was able to work his way into the top ten. A quick change back to soft tyres under a virtual safety car then allowed him to consolidate the gains.

"We made the right strategy calls, especially pitting under VSC," he confirmed.

However his progress was compromised when he ran over a piece of debris from the front wing of Max Verstappen's Red Bull.

"I hit debris from Verstappen's car and I picked up some damage," he said. "I was struggling with a lot of vibrations and I was lucky to make it to the end.

"It was a tough afternoon but to score two points in these conditions is not a bad result," he reported. "It's good to come home with some points after starting so far back.

"A decent reward after a difficult race," he summarised.

Even so, those two points for ninth place were not enough to stop Force India slipping to seventh behind Haas in the constructors standings. That's partly due to his team mate Esteban Ocon being unable to contribute points this weekend.

"It's a shame about Esteban's retirement because we could have scored points with both cars today," admitted Perez.

Ocon had been forced to pull over with an oil pressure problem on lap 38, triggering the VSC. His race had already been badly compromised by a problem during his pit stop which dropped him from seventh place to dead last.

"We were racing well and looking good for some points," said Ocon. "Then things went wrong at my pit stop when there was a problem changing the right rear wheel.

"We lost about twenty seconds and it put us to the back of the pack.

"A few laps later I lost power and had to park the car," he sighed. "It looks like an oil pressure problem, but we need to wait until the car is back to know exactly what happened."

"Esteban's issues today certainly robbed him of the chance to score points," agreed Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.

"The wheel issue during Esteban's stop needs to be fully investigated," he added. "But we believe some debris from his brake duct caused the problem.

"The subsequent oil leak ended his race, but we are hoping that there is no damage to the engine."

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