Perez thrilled by “hardest-fought podium ever”

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez said it was an “amazing feeling” to claim a podium finish for Force India in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“This podium is an amazing achievement and one of the most special results in my whole career,” said Perez.

“This is a massive confidence boost, especially after the very hard season I had last year, and it was the hardest-fought podium I ever had.”

Perez’s last appearance on the rostrum since Monza in 2012. He crossed the line today less than half a second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

“It was an amazing feeling to cross the line because the last few laps were very difficult<" said Perez. "I had to keep up the pace and I knew the Red Bulls were coming." "In the end we managed to stay ahead and score this very special result in only my third race with the team." Perez also came out on top of a battle with Nico Hulkenberg earlier in the race, we he said was a “great fight”.

“When he got ahead of me after the first stop, I tried to keep my head down to get back ahead. I managed to do that when we were fighting with the Williams and that was the crucial moment.”

Perez’s result is the second podium appearance by Force India driver, following Giancarlo Fisichella’s second place at Spa-Francorchamps in 2009.

Team principal Vijay Mallya described it ass “one of the greatest days in the history of our team”.

“It’s been a long time coming, but it’s very satisfying to see Sahara Force India back on the podium after so many near misses in recent years.”

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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46 comments on “Perez thrilled by “hardest-fought podium ever””

  1. Fantastic race by Checo and force India I feel the credit also should go to hulk for his defensive driving which enabled Checo to have a considerable lead over red bulls and Williams who were on freasher tyres in the final stages good result for FI

    1. advantage lost by safety car …

  2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    6th April 2014, 21:15

    What, versus the podium where he was driving the fastest car on the track (Malaysia 2012), or versus the podium where he was seconds faster than the frontrunners on newer tyres (Canada 2012), or versus the podium where he adopted a clearly superior tyre strategy (Italy 2012)? Today was quite clearly Checo’s finest performance in F1 to date…

    1. Comments like this make it rather painfully obvious how underrated Perez’s podium drives in 2012 really are.

      1. Yeah I agree, it’s all too easy to judge a book by it’s cover, or in this case judge a performance by only half the facts

      2. +1
        I agree, his 2012 podiums were a lot better than people seem to make out. But this was definitely his finest performance so far.

      3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        9th April 2014, 11:11

        @kingshark – I think Perez’s podiums are justifiably underrated, with a) the circumstances I mentioned and b) a C31 that was, for much of the European season, on parr with, if not better than, the E20. It was a car that could happily won the British GP from pole that year had qualifying been dry such was its strength in high corners, and to illustrate that, Kobayashi managed to get it on the podium at Suzuka, by which time the championship contending teams were flexing their development muscles.

        1. @william-brierty

          versus the podium where he was driving the fastest car on the track (Malaysia 2012)

          You mean like how Vettel’s first podium in Monza 2008 was also done with the “fastest” car? Does that make it any less impressive?
          Plus, if you actually followed live timing you’d find out that Williams had the fastest car in Malaysia, Bruno and Pastor moved from 22nd and 23rd after the SC to 6th and 9th, plus they were regularly matching Alonso/Perez on pace.

          or versus the podium where he was seconds faster than the frontrunners on newer tyres (Canada 2012),

          And seconds slower than the frontrunners in the 1st half of the race when he was on hards and the frontrunners were on softs. Plus, Perez was only “seconds” faster than Alonso in the end, not every front runner. He also made some great/crucial overtakes.

          or versus the podium where he adopted a clearly superior tyre strategy (Italy 2012)?

          If the strategy was so superior, then how come no one else on the same strategy got anywhere near Perez? Likewise, why was Koba so much slower than him that race?

          You see why I said;
          Comments like this make it rather painfully obvious how underrated Perez’s podium drives in 2012 really are.

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            12th April 2014, 19:07

            @kingshark – And yet at no point do I say that they weren’t impressive, they simply weren’t performances heralding the emergence of a star akin to performances Hulkenberg has managed in recent years, of those of Vettel in 2008. The fact is that Perez’s 2012 podiums were sculpted by an excellent car that was easy on its tyres thus opening a broader array of possible tyre strategies, and yet Perez still unquestionably drove impressively (although I think Perez drove more impressively last weekend). However the informed onlooker saw 2012 as the season that confirmed the validity of the utter brilliance we saw in Hulkenberg in the closing stages of 2010, not as the season that branded Sergio as the coming man. One can’t help but feel that McLaren were slightly wrong footed by Perez’s podiums into wrongly choosing him over Nico, and whilst I vehemently condemned the knee-jerk manner in which he was replaced by Magnussen, you can’t deny that Hulkenberg would have done a considerably better job based on what he managed in the C32 last year.

    2. Versus your podium which never happened (never, 20never)

      Easy to be critical.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        9th April 2014, 14:54

        @ukphillie – You are criticizing me because I’ve never been on the Formula 1 podium?

  3. Yeah, great performance by Perez today. Not sure how he managed to pull that gap to Hulkenberg after the safety car, but all through the race he did a good job.

    1. @george Hülkenberg said before he doesn’t quite like this track and that his results show it. His tyres were goners because Checo was driving in front of him (clear air obviously) while Nico had to (ab)use his tyres more, comparatively.

      Both did a great job and I’m really happy for FI; they’re punching way above their weight at the moment!

  4. Excellent drive by Checo, yet again shutting up many of his critics who claim that Hulk will mop the floor with him Alonso-Massa style. I expect a very exciting inter team battle this season.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      7th April 2014, 3:58

      oh, that will happen! just wait…

      1. No, you wait, this will be the best clash in F1 this year!

    2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      9th April 2014, 15:02

      @kingshark – But whilst Perez is relatively track specific, tending to be strong at Bahrain, Barcelona, Monaco and Silverstone, Hulkenberg has a tendency to be quite excellent everywhere. Yes, Perez is a good racing driver, the way he was dropped by McLaren was nothing more than a knee-jerk and something I continue to fail to understand to this day, but, in essence, Hulkenberg is in a different league. He is simply a megastar, a certain future champion, and I will be very surprised if Perez ends this season within thirty points of Nico…

      1. Yep Hulk is consider the best driver never been on podium, Perez done 4 podiums in different seasons and with different teams only cause is sooo lucky, so far Mclaren being the worst midfield car/team Checo has drive for and bit Jenson in his team alot.

        Bahrhain 2014 Hulk and Checo same car no issues either and Checo won fighting all the way. All other rain affected races/qualy were never on par Checo.
        Hulk is great but Checo is better when the car actually works, I do beleive who ever wins this one will go to Ferrari next yr, wait a minute FI maybe even better than Ferrari next yr !

  5. Checo delivered today – he put it all together when it counted. If he manages to give credit to great d driving by Hulk these two will do some damage. Superb driving by both.

  6. Both Force Indias were an absolute pleasure to watch today. Very fine team-oriented racecraft from both.

    1. Here here! Stella performance by the whole team, awesome to see them bag a good result with the work they’ve put in with the car as well as getting two of the best available drivers for 2014!

  7. Force India are second in the championship now! great stuff, bet Sutil is kicking himself

    1. Of course, FI might not be 2nd in the WCC with Sutil driving.

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        7th April 2014, 3:59


      2. Very true. plus the FI’s appendage is pretty sizeable compared to the Sauber’s, he’d probably use it to spear Hamilton and then claim he never saw him

  8. Force India have one of the best line ups in modern times, the results show it.

    1. also car

  9. So good seeing Force Indian’s hard work pay off! They’ve kept their head down with the performance. No screaming and shouting, no playing down their chances just going at it. And not just that, their ability to bag two of the best drivers available for 2014 was crucial to the benefits they’re now enjoying.

  10. Not a huge fan of Perez, but he drove a great race today. Even happier to see FI being a force to be reckoned with!

  11. The best thing I liked about today! He and Hulk made my day. My heart was in my mouth after the Safety car was deployed. It could have been a 3-4 finish for them, unfortunate for Hulk though. He still leads the Championship table (Merc are above all, and are incomparable)

  12. I’m so thrilled for Perez, he really drove out of his skin today and fully deserved his podium. He also demonstrated brilliant race craft once again and I hope he continues to deliver great entertainment for us.

  13. What a race by Perez, and weekend as a whole for that matter. He really does love this track. People were quick to write him off after the first two races, but actually he did well in Australia to get a point after having a puncture and didn’t even make the start in Malaysia, and this will hopefully show people that he is a very good driver.

    Maybe after the criticisms he had from world champions last year, the aggressive moves and that he only gets podiums from tyre strategy, people had a poor perception of him. Instead, he should be given credit for being a consistent points-scorer at different teams (he’s scored points in the last six races in which he’d competed), someone who makes some bold and aggressive (which I love) but often brilliant overtaking manoeuvres, and who can spring a surprise, like today.

    Also, who would’ve thought that in the last three years where he’s driven for Sauber, McLaren and Force India that the season without a podium would be the McLaren one?

  14. McLaren’s fault underatement of Perez, he is brilliant as good as Magnussen but with more experience and a few podiums,
    Checo’s ability at pushing the moves is awesome, can’t wait to Monaco.

    1. Why Monaco?

      1. That is where he pulled a blinder on Jenson and hit Raikkonen trying another move

        1. to be fair pull two (button/Alonso) out of three (kimi) and was kimi sending him to the wall after leaving the door open, checo style is fun to watch in Monaco. Kimi Always have contacts but is never his fault…

  15. I was happy to see Checo finish 3rd today. He was unceremoniously dumped by McLaren last year, and I still don’t know to this day why they favored Magnussen over him. However, this will be sweet for him, and he won’t necessarily be missing the McLaren garage.
    I was a little disappointed with HULK today, I like the guy and support him, but I was expecting a better performance than 5th place. Force India must be delighted where they’re sitting atm in the championship.

    1. Hulkenberg actually drove a much better race. Hulkenberg started 7 places down from Perez and finished right behind him.

      In the end Hulkenberg was simply Unlucky that the SC came out and put the Red bulls right on his tail with their fresh soft tyres being a lot faster than his medium tyres.

      1. C’mon, Checo overtook The Hulk twice and them Williams again and again… BTW The Hulk did not “finished right behind him”, he was passed by Ricciardo…

    2. This yr and last yr Force india is probably better car than McLaren, so checo never been in a top team yet.

  16. This will spur Hulk. He made a mistake in Q2, that lead to him missing Q3 and to start form P11. There itself his race was some what compromised. Without Safety Car he would have finished in P4. Now if Sergio can challenge Hulk like this, Force India is in for a wonderful season

    1. i agree, alsoif Perez had to start the Malaysian GP, im sure FI would have another double points finish….

      Overall i think Hulk drives better than Perez…

  17. It was actually more Hulkenberg doing the fighting for him. If Hulkenberg hadn’t kept the Red Bulls at bay for as long as he did, they would have been on and over Perez.

  18. yes i think Hulkenberg helped a lot keeping those Redbulls behind, in some point of the final laps i thought he was doing it on purpose or following orders to help Perez but its nonsense every driver look after the best for himself, that is the think Hulkenberg its one of the most dificult drivers to overtake and also Perez is one of the best drivers overtaking, in this race Perez won when they where in fight, he just waited Massa – Hulkenberg battle and he did the right move in the exact time. Some would say is opportunist others that is clever.

  19. Grego (@francogrego)
    8th April 2014, 7:00

    May the force be with them up to Abu Dhabi!

  20. yes, hulk make a great race from the 11th place, but in some point of the race he was in front checo because of the pit strategy, checo manage to pass him in a great move, as in brazil 2012, I think he lost a very close possible podium.

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