Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has hailed his third-placed finish as a “great result” for Mexico after making history at home in 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix.
Having found himself caught up in an inner-team controversy after Qualifying following a wide moment through Turns 10 and 11 alongside AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda which ruined Max Verstappen’s final lap, Perez benefitted from Valtteri’s Bottas first corner spin to finish third.
Perez also made history as the first Mexican to not only lead a lap – having led seven laps during the pit stop window, but also is the first driver from Mexico to stand on the podium at their home race as Red Bull recorded an one-three finish as Verstappen took his ninth victory of the season.
Reflecting post-race on what his podium means to him, Perez said: “This is a great result for my country, I really wanted more but unfortunately we didn’t get that.
It was so messy in turn one so to avoid incident there was critical and then I wanted second place, but we didn’t get the chance because it is just so difficult to overtake around here
“I could feel the fans energy when I was going through the stadium sector and I was thinking about how many people were here for me, I could actually hear the crowd when I was driving through Foro Sol.
“I wanted more but I am just very happy to be on the podium of my home country, the Mexicans were so happy today.”
Perez spent the majority of the race battling Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton for second but couldn’t find his way past, despite having hard tyres ten laps fresher than the Brit’s tyres in the closing stages after re-joining 8.376s behind Hamilton after his stop.
Discussing his race-long battle with Hamilton, Perez commented: “I was really close to getting Lewis but the Mercedes are so quick on the straight lines so I didn’t get a opportunity to go for it but I gave my best.”
Although he failed to win his home race, Perez ultimately was happy with third despite his “competitive” instinct naturally aiming to take victory.
Verstappen meanwhile was happy with his “incredible” dominant victory but was delighted for Perez to claim a “great” home podium and praised his teammate for his improved race performances in which he “has really picked it up.”
Reflecting on his own performance, Verstappen added: ” I knew the start was very important today, we were three wide at one point and I was on the more ideal race line so I could brake later and get into the lead.
“After that I could do my own thing, the pace was very good today so I could just keep building and creating a gap, the pit stops were seamless and the car was good throughout the race which was crucial today.”