Sergio Perez: “We lacked to pace to fight for the podium”

Sergio Perez finished fifth at Spa-Francorchamps, but admitted he lacked the pace during the Belgian Grand Prix to take a podium finish, although the Mexican is looking forward to being competitive again next time out at Monza.

The Sahara Force India driver made a good start from fourth on the grid to move into second, even attacking race leader Lewis Hamilton at the end of the Kemmel Straight, but excessive tyre degradation cost him, as did the low-downforce set-up in the middle sector.

“Fifth place and ten points is a good result, but we just lacked the pace to really fight for the podium today,” said Perez. “My start was very strong and I was close to taking the lead on lap one when I was alongside Lewis after Eau Rouge.

I settled into a good rhythm, but we had very high degradation on the soft tyres in the first two stints. It was a bit better on the medium, although we struggled in the middle sector with our low downforce set-up and that hurt my pace.

“We were racing some quick cars and it was hard to fight off [Romain] Grosjean and [Daniil] Kvyat, so it’s clear we need to analyse our performance and see where we can improve.

“I’m already looking forward to the next race in Monza, which is another track where I think we can be competitive.”

Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg saw his race ended before the start as a power issue saw him stop on the grid after the formation lap, causing the start to be aborted. His car was pushed off the grid, with the German driver disappointed as he felt he had an opportunity to score points.

“It’s disappointing to finish your race before it’s even started, but sometimes these things happen in racing,” revealed Hulkenberg. “On the way to the grid I just felt a loss of power. We tried to understand and fix the problem on the grid, but it came back during the formation lap.

“There were a few moments when the power returned, but it disappeared again just before the start and I had to retire.

“It’s a real shame because the car has been very quick this weekend and we had a good opportunity to score some important points.”