Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Sergio Perez was happy to finish the 2017 Italian Grand Prix in the points, after a difficult Friday practice and Saturday qualifying, made the weekend far from easy for the Mexican.
Having not made it out of Q2, whilst team-mate Esteban Ocon sailed through to the top ten shoot out, the Mexican then needed a gearbox change on the morning of the grand prix, giving his engineers a race against time to be ready for lights out.
Thankfully, they were, and despite that initial worry, Perez felt the car was strong throughout the race, even with the slight damage sustained through contact with Williams Martini Racing driver Felipe Massa on the first lap.
A slow pit stop then compromised the Mexican’s position however, causing him to lose his place to the Brazilian on returning to the track. From there on in, despite his best efforts, Perez found it difficult to get by both Massa and his Williams team-mate Lance Stroll, though he did come extremely close to clawing back the gap.
In the end, Perez finished just four tenths down on Massa at the chequered flag, with Stroll just a further second down the road. One or two more laps, or a faster stop in the pits, and perhaps the Mexican could have crossed the line right behind his team-mate.
“First of all, I want to thank my team for the amazing job they did to change the gearbox on my car before the race. It’s been a difficult weekend for us, when you consider the struggles on Friday and how missing out on Q3 yesterday made our race much more difficult.
“Today the car felt good and I was strong in the first stint, despite some damage picked up at turn two, but things got more difficult after the pit-stop. We had a slow stop and I got stuck in traffic: I think I lost a couple of seconds and that’s what made the difference between us and Williams.
“We gave everything to get back to them, but we ran out of laps to pass them. Perhaps with two extra laps I would have made it, but that’s racing.”
You cannot be bogged down by the ‘what if’s’ however, and Perez was pleased to bring home some points for the team, to aid their fight in maintaining fourth place in the constructors standings.
“Even though I expected a bit more, we still rescued a few points and I am happy with this result.”