Pérez Says Team Was “Fair” In Handling Ocon Situation

Credit: Sahara Force India F1 Team

Sergio Pérez collected another significant haul of points for his Sahara Force India F1 Team with a fifth place finish, but was given a hard time by team-mate Esteban Ocon during his second stint. After his team tried to implement team orders with just under 20 laps to go, he insisted over the radio they were not necessary, and felt the team were right to heed his suggestion.

Pérez had spent his second stint unsuccessfully attempting to pass Daniel Ricciardo for the final podium place, and soon found himself also having to hold back his young team-mate Ocon for fourth whilst also trying to attack the Australian. While he managed to hold the sister car at bay, Sebastian Vettel caught them both late in the race on fresh tyres, dropping to fifth by the finish.

“I’m pleased to come away with fifth place because it was a very intense afternoon,” he said. “For nearly the whole race I was running close behind Riccardo in his DRS window and waiting for my opportunity to overtake. I could see he was struggling in certain areas and, as we started to come through the lapped traffic, I thought I deserved the chance to try and overtake him. I tried my best and really pushed hard, but it just wasn’t possible to make the move.”

When it became clear he was going to struggle to overtake the Red Bull, his team-mate Ocon radioed in to the pitwall, asking for Pérez to move aside so he could attempt a pass of his own for third. After much back and forth between the two drivers and their team, Pérez was able to negate the order, and he believes letting them race for position was the right call.

“It was the same situation [as with Ricciardo] with Esteban behind me for almost half the race, but it was only on the final lap that he got really close to me when we were lapping Ericsson,” he continued. I knew Esteban had better tyre life because my engineers made me aware of the situation and I replied by asking the team to simply let us race. I think the team was fair and respected my view. The team always comes first and we raced hard, but fair.”

The ten points earned on Sunday put him seventeen points ahead of his team-mate Ocon in the championship standings, and thanks to the retirement of the second Red Bull, only a single point behind Max Verstappen, who currently holds sixth overall.