Sergio Perez completed a successful European Grand Prix to finish on the podium in third.
The Sahara Force India driver had a good qualifying session on Saturday when he qualified in second at the Baku City Circuit, although he started the Grand Prix from seventh after receiving a five place grid penalty for changing his gearbox. Perez drove strongly throughout the Grand Prix, managing to fend of world champion Lewis Hamilton when they were battling for fourth.
In the final stages the Mexican was catching up to the Scuderia Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who had a five second penalty after he crossed the white line of the entry to the pit lane. Perez kept himself within the five seconds gap but managed to catch up with the Finn before passing him into turn one on the final lap.
Perez had been performing strongly all weekend and he knew that a podium was possible on Sunday. With the help of the Silverstone-based outfit working hard for it.
“I knew that the podium was possible today, but we really had to work hard for it,” said Perez. “The key to my race was the great start I made to get around a Williams [Massa] and a Toro Rosso [Kvyat].
“Then, in the first stint I was suffering with graining of my supsersoft tyres and we had to decide whether to wait for it to improve or to make an early stop. In the end, we stayed out longer, which was the right decision, but when I came out of the pits I struggled to warm-up the soft tyres and I was under big pressure from Lewis [Hamilton] behind.
“I pushed as hard as I could and opened up a gap, and then I focussed on looking after my tyres. I closed in on Kimi [Raikkonen] and I knew he had a penalty, but on the final lap I got very close to him and saw the opportunity to overtake him, so I took it.
“To be on the podium for a second time this year feels fantastic. The team has done a brilliant job and we are having an amazing year.”