Sergio Pérez said that he was happy with eighth place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a tough weekend saw him lack full confidence in the car.
The Sahara Force India F1 Team driver finished eighth at the Yas Marina Circuit, having failed to make it into the top ten in Saturday’s qualifying session. The Mexican’s points finish ensured that Force India ended the season on a high, even with team-mate Esteban Ocon‘s retirement late on.
Pérez admitted that his and the team’s lack of pace came as a surprise, speculating that he was carrying damage through the race.
“Considering everything that has happened this weekend, I am pleased to finish inside the points,” said Pérez.
“I’ve not been happy with the car and I’ve not had the pace we expected. We just never solved the balance issue and I think there could be some damage somewhere in the car.”
The Mexican said that a good start and well-executed strategy helped elevate him up the field, battling the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team‘s Charles Leclerc for seventh towards the end of the race. Pérez noted that after a difficult year, one that saw the team change guise, points were a welcome and important tonic.
“The start of the race was very important and after a strong first lap I was up inside the top ten,” he added.
“After that, the strategy worked as planned and my main competition was Leclerc. I was very close to him in the final few laps, but I just didn’t have the pace to overtake him.
“I am pleased we could protect the seventh place in the teams’ championship and it was important to end the season with some points.”
Four points for Pérez in Abu Dhabi was not enough to eclipse former team-mate Nico Hülkenberg for seventh and the ‘best of the rest’ tag in the Drivers’ Championship.