Perez: I was fighting for my team and will always fight for the team that I’m in
9 September, 2012
Sep.9 (FIA) Sergio Perez started from 12th on the grid, took a gamble by opting to use the hard Pirelli tyre for the first stint (while the majority went for the softer option Pirelli tyres) and, as is becoming his trademark, the Mexican managed to stretch his first stint until well after mid-race distance. Then with the softer tyres he carved his way through the field to take a fantastic second place and arguably deliver one of his best races yet. He spoke afterwards:
You did an incredible job. I think you even surprised Fernando here. How did you work this fantastic race for yourself?
Sergio Perez: It was a great race for me, for my team. It’s unbelievable to get a podium in Monza, with all these people. It’s really, really special.
What was the strategy? What tyres did you use?
SP: I went for prime and then I stopped very late in my first stint and then I had fresh tyres at the end. It’s unbelievable, thank you very much.
How much did you enjoy that? It must have been amazing to be on those softer tyres and just be overtaking, overtaking?
SP: Yeah! It was really enjoyable. One of those races where you have the pace and you are the one attacking. It was very crucial moments during the race, especially during my first stint, to go that long and to be able to keep the pace was not easy at all. I did quite a lot of laps on those tyres. Then in the second stint we managed to go maximum attack and I was able to have good fighting with some drivers. It was just a great race.
Kimi put a bit of resistance, didn’t he?
SP: Yeah, but I mean Kimi’s a very fair driver. He left enough room, not more than needed, and it was alright with all the drivers that I had the fight, they were all leaving good room, and it was a very enjoyable fight with all of them.
How much do you worry that the tyres are suddenly going to drop off? Or are you confident all the way through?
SP: With the first stint I was a bit worried, especially with the data we had from Friday. I was a bit worried I was feeling some degradation from the tyres, so I was a bit worried that it was going to drop, that the tyre was going to drop but once I got until lap 20 it was looking really good. Before that I was in contact with the team every lap, trying to say that everything was fine. Every lap I asked them to stay in contact every lap, just in case we were in need to change the strategy.
You were sick the whole weekend, and how much did that cost you during qualifying and if you had started here up in front maybe you could have challenged Lewis for the win.
SP: It’s always difficult for sure, I don’t think we had the pace in qualifying, on a single lap, to be even close to gaining the front row or close to the top five. We were not quick at all, we were lacking too much speed on the straights and that was our problem. Yes, I’ve been sick all weekend. It’s been difficult but it did not affect me at all, yesterday in qualifying I did not have the good lap. I was too close to Bruno Senna so I lost a lot of downforce – it was the reason why we qualified just out of the top ten. But more than that…maybe top ten was reachable but more than that, not. It helped us, in a way, to change the strategy. We risk, I don’t know if we were the only one, or one of a few, to go for prime and it worked quite well. We were a bit worried about the warm up in the beginning but it worked quite OK.
Do you think your overtaking on Fernando will hurt your chances to be in Ferrari next year?
SP: Ask him. I don’t know. I’m sure… I’m not at all… I’m fighting for my team and will always fight for the team that I’m in. I will always give my maximum I can. And I will fight any driver, no matter if it’s Fernando or Lewis, I will fight for my team to get the result – and I think every driver will do the same.
Is this your best race so far in Formula One, and how important has been to do it in Monza in front of the Ferrari guys as a Ferrari academy driver?
SP: I think it definitely is a very nice podium to be on here in Italy, because it’s very special to see. It’s a very special race which you don’t feel anywhere else. So to have my first European podium in Formula One is very great and it’s a very special place to have it. I think it was a fantastic race and I’m very pleased with the result.
In Singapore, it looks good for you now because this race didn’t look good for you and you did very well, whereas Singapore is a different track. What do you expect?
SP: I definitely expect to be better than here but here was a big surprise for us. I think the strategy made a very big difference for us, because we had the pace to be where we finished today. I think Singapore will definitely be a better one – I don’t think the best for us but if we come here and look better, I think we can be competitive if you consider we lose half a second on the straights here so I think we can be quite competitive in Singapore.
This is your third podium after Malaysia and Canada; when and where do you think your first victory will come?
SP: I hope sooner rather than later. I want to win. I already have a second and a third, as you say. I want my first victory to come and I hope it can come before the end of the season.
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