The Turkish Grand Prix gave Sergio Perez an opportunity for redemption. The Mexican of Red Bull, fresh from a series of disappointing races that saw him take only 16 points from Silverstone to Sochi, managed to conquer the third step of the podium behind Bottas and Verstappen.
For Perez, the Istanbul event was supposed to represent a turning point and earlier in the week he had declared that he wanted to aim for the podium to give a decisive turn to his first season with the Milton Keynes team colors.
The Mexican was the protagonist of the most beautiful duel admired on the track against seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Mercedes driver, who started from the eleventh spot for having mounted the fourth thermal engine, raced in the first part of the race with a knife between his teeth and on lap number 35, when he was in fifth place, he targeted Red Bull. number 11.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Perez, despite the pressure of an unleashed Hamilton, never gave up and resisted an extreme maneuver by the Englishman that forced him to cut the entrance lane of the pit lane thus maintaining fourth place.
“It was a pretty intense duel because Lewis really caught me in my worst moment of my race when I was struggling a lot with my tires.”
“The first stint was very complicated for me, especially towards the end, and Lewis was quite fast. I think he was the fastest car on the track at the time and being able to keep him behind me was quite challenging. life to a good fight and I also had to avoid the bollard at the entrance to the pits “.
At the end of the race Perez then confided that he had swept away a considerable pressure from his shoulders with the third place that repays him for the disappointments experienced in the last few rounds
“Honestly, I was very unlucky in the last few races and it was nice to finish on the podium in a race like today where I felt so uncomfortable with the car and we didn’t have the pace to match Mercedes.”
For Sergio the only weak point this season is still the qualification. Even in Turkey the Mexican was unable to extract the maximum potential from his Red Bull, but with his usual mastery in tire management he managed to bring home a result that makes morale.
“For the whole weekend I was much more competitive. In qualifying I didn’t have the opportunity to show it because we were very aggressive with our strategy and this put us in trouble with the soft tires.”
“I showed a good pace all weekend and I’m sure I could have had a much better qualifying, but in any case you can see that the feeling with the car is getting better and better.”