Sergio Perez rues 'complicated' opening lap after losing ground
Force India’s Sergio Pérez was left to lament a “complicated” opening lap to the Brazilian Grand Prix as he lost ground, before coming home in ninth position.
Pérez started from fifth spot on the grid but was passed by McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso through the Senna S and “pushed wide”, allowing Williams’ Felipe Massa through.
Pérez was overhauled by the recovering Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo, demoting him to ninth place, and opted to extend his first stint, in a bid to give him an advantage over the Massa/Alonso scrap.
Pérez closed the gap during the final stages of the race but fell just short, coming across the line within two-tenths of Alonso, who in turn finished just half a second behind Massa.
“Things got quite complicated on lap one when Alonso pushed me wide at Turn 2,” said Pérez.
“I was on the grass and lost another position to Massa. That was very costly for my race because I spent the whole afternoon trying to recover.
“We certainly had the pace to finish in seventh, but the very high track temperatures made things difficult because as soon as you tried to attack you suffered with massive tyre degradation.
“We tried to change our strategy to overcome things, but it wasn’t enough to recover the seventh place.
“In the final few laps I was very close to Massa and Alonso. Massa was quick in the final sector, while Alonso was fast through sector two and had the benefit of DRS to help him defend down the straights.
“Maybe if there had been one more lap it would have been enough to overtake them. Considering the way things unfolded, I’m happy with the result but not totally satisfied.”
Pérez was the sole Force India driver to reach the chequered flag after team-mate Esteban Ocon suffered his first Formula 1 retirement due to an opening-lap clash with Romain Grosjean.