Sergio Perez: “I’m very happy right now”

The Monaco Grand Prix was a contrasting race for the Sahara Force India team, with Sergio Perez having a fantastic weekend and being rewarded with a seventh place finish, while Nico Hulkenberg had a difficult afternoon, sustaining front wing damage after making contact with Fernando Alonso on the opening lap.

Perez was happy with what he achieved over the weekend and had nothing but praise for the team and their hard work, even if he had a bit of a straightforward race. Even though he tried to pass Kimi Raikkonen in the later stages of the race, he could not find a way past, but managed to gain some much-needed points for the team.

“I’m very happy right now. As a team we’ve done a fantastic job all weekend and seventh place is the result of all this hard work,” said Perez.  

“For me it was a normal race – very straightforward and quiet, which is strange for Monaco. I was racing on my own for most of the race because the cars ahead were able to pull a gap on me and I had space to the cars behind.

“It was difficult to keep concentration for 78 laps, but after the safety car I was on fresh supersoft tyres and it was really good fun.

“I was able to attack Kimi [Raikkonen], but there wasn’t an opportunity to get the position. It’s a very important result for the whole team and gives us six points for the championship. It means I’ve scored points in half the races this season, which shows we’ve done a good job of maximising our opportunities.”

Meanwhile, his team-mate Hulkenberg had a challenging race after making contact with Alonso on the opening lap of the race, laying the blame firmly at the McLaren-Honda drivers feet. He felt there was nothing he could do apart from try to have the best race that he could after that, believing that had the incident not happened, he could have scored points.

“My race was obviously very difficult right from the start: Fernando [Alonso] more or less pushed me into the wall on the first lap and from that moment I basically had to play catch up,” said Hulkenberg. 

“I knew he was there so I left him a bit more space and turned in later, but he must have locked up as he crashed into me and sent me straight into the wall. The only damage was to the front wing, but getting back to the pits and changing the wing cost me a lot of time.

“My race was already compromised then – it is not easy to race from so far back because you have to let the leaders through and you’re on the back foot the whole time. In terms of pace I was doing quite well, especially when in clean air, but obviously getting lapped costs you a lot of time.

“It is a shame as I feel that without the incident I would have been well into the points today. I still take encouragement from our pace and hopefully we can maximise the next weekend in Canada and get some more points.”