The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will be remembered as the race in which Force India turned around their flagging fortunes and scored the kind of result expected of them after a stellar 2017 season.
But the early races were not good for the Pinks, but during the course of the weekend in Baku they found the sweet-spot and Sergio Perez delivered as he tends to in races of high attrition.
The Mexican finished third for the team and reflected on his afternoon:
Fantastic, absolutely brilliant, last time you were on the podium was here.
Sergio Perez: Yeah, two years ago. I think today I did the best two laps of my whole career. The last two laps with Sebastian behind, with cold tyres, it was so difficult. I was on the supersoft tyre. I had to keep a very strong rhythm, trying to keep close to Räikkönen, to make sure that Sebastian didn’t get close enough, and in the end we did a real… I’m speechless.
It’s been a dramatic turnaround by the team over the last month. How confident are you that you can stay where you are going forwards?
SP: Well, obviously, this result is a coincidence of so many things happening but it’s not a coincidence that we are always there to take anything that is offered to us. I think our battle is not here, to be honest, it’s the midfield and finally we got plenty of points today with this podium, that we can close up the gap to the cars ahead, to the Renaults. I think we were definitely the fourth-best team this weekend. In two weeks’ time, we have a very important challenge. Barcelona is where really the car is… you show all of your potential there. It will be very interesting to see where we are. I believe that we are making good progress. Up to now we only had one point as a team. It’s definitely a massive motivation for all the boys that are doing a fantastic job. They did an incredible job with the stops. With the strategy. Yeah, what else can I say? Amazing job.