Last weekend, the Sakhir Grand Prix was one of the most dramatic races of the year, and one man has taken a long time to comprehend the chaos that ensued under the floodlights, Sergio Perez.
Following a race of unpredictable attrition which saw both Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team cars fall from the front-row to the midfield, Perez took a maiden victory in Formula 1 even after a first-lap incident that saw him in last place. The Mexican showcased his stellar pace and talent to overtake the field, complimented by perfect strategy by BWT Racing Point F1 Team, and stood on the top step of the podium for an emotional first time.
Speaking in a press-conference before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, Perez expressed just how hard it was for him to come to terms with his new title of ‘F1 race winner’. He said that, after ‘everything that’s happened this year’, the victory was ‘really deserved’.
“It’s taken a few days to fully realise what we achieved together last weekend. It’s a result I have been working towards for 10 years and it was a very emotional day for me, my family, the team, and everybody who has supported me on my journey. We came close a few times in the past, and sometimes you need a bit of luck, but I think we really deserved to win that race given everything that has happened this year.”
Perez also took the time to discuss how excited he was to round off a record year at Yas Marina. The Mexican has strong pace at this circuit, as evidenced last year, and he says he’s looking forward to a ‘good challenge’.
“I really enjoy going there and it’s a great place to finish the season. I’m really looking forward to it. You need strong stability across a lap there and plenty of power on the straights to really maximise a lap. It’s a good challenge.”
The weekend also marks a send-off for Perez; it’s his last outing for Racing Point. The newly-crowned race winner says he has ‘wonderful memories’ with the team he’s been with since 2014, and he hopes to ‘sign off in style’ this weekend in Abu Dhabi.
“I have wonderful memories with the team. From scoring a podium in just our third race together and then winning a race last Sunday. We’ve now celebrated seven podiums together and they were all special days where we came together as a team and often against the odds. I wish the team all the best in the future and I’m really motivated to sign off in style this weekend.”
Stroll hoping to take third place in constructors’ as a ‘nice reward’ for the team
In a season where he has proved his worth in Formula 1, Lance Stroll says he would love to give something back to the team and help take third in the constructors’ championship.
The Canadian says 2020 has been his ‘best season to date‘, and after having secured two podiums he’d be right. He referenced the team atmosphere as full of ‘good energy’ and wants to capitalise by bringing home a points haul on Sunday.
“We come here after a fantastic team result so there’s definitely some good energy in the team right now. We’ve just got to stay focussed this weekend and deliver another strong result. Whatever happens, we’ve been on an incredible journey this year with 17 races squeezed into six months. It’s been my best season in Formula 1 to date, but there’s been some frustrating moments too. It would be good to sign off the year on a positive note.”
He also said it’s high priority to ensure the team can maintain third in the constructors, so a points finish is even more important. He believes it would be a ‘nice reward for the team’ and a good way to conclude a wonderful year.
“It’s been really tense and close all year and we’re all going to fight hard to retain third place in the Constructors. We’ve been able to fight for podiums this year and earned some great results, so to take third would be a nice reward to the entire team – those at the factory and the trackside crew. I’m excited to get going and have a good weekend.”