Bahrain race was one of my most special ones: Sergio Perez
There was a time last season when Sergio Perez contemplated quitting Formula One. Back then, the Mexican had endured a wretched 2013 season with McLaren, with no podium finishes to brag about after a successful 2012 with Sauber.
Force India's Sergio Perez celebrates on the podium at the Sakhir circuit on Sunday. Pic/Imagelibrary/EPA
However, just a few months after parting ways with McLaren, Perez seems to have rediscovered his love for F1. The 24-year-old Sahara Force India driver finished third at the Bahrain GP on Sunday to rack up his best finish since September 2012, when he finished second in Italy.
"The Bahrain race was one of my most special ones. It is not my best, but definitely one of my most special races. Especially as it comes after I left a top team like McLaren after a disappointing season.
What made the race special was the way I had to fight my way to get on the podium," Perez said during a tele-conference from Manama yesterday.
Perez's third-place finish, coupled with teammate Nico Hulkenberg's fifth-place show, has propelled Force India to the second spot in the constructors' championship.
"The team's performance makes me very proud as we're a small team, but doing a great job. We have the best engine right now (Mercedes). And we're still beating McLaren and Williams, who are also running on the same engines," Perez added.
Force India has enjoyed a near-perfect start to the season — they lead F1 heavyweights Red Bull and Ferrari by nine and 11 points respectively.
The Mexican driver however feels there is still room for improvement. "We need to keep improving our car and keep the momentum going. We've had an advantage until now because of the engine. But now our focus is on the mid-season testing," he said.
In-season testing that was banned since 2009, will be conducted at Bahrain's Sakhir circuit today and tomorrow and will give teams a chance to work on improving their cars.
> Australian GP: 10th place
> Malaysian GP: Did not start
> Bahrain GP: 3rd place