An emotional Sergio Perez said his remarkable first victory at the 190th attempt in Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix had given him “a bit more peace” as he contemplates his enforced exit from Formula One next year.
The 30-year-old Mexican drove from last position, after a first-lap collision, to top a memorable podium alongside Renault’s Esteban Ocon and his Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll. His success left him weeping in his cockpit at the end of his penultimate race with Racing Point.
“It gives me a bit more peace with myself,” he said. “What happens is not so much in my hands. I want to keep going. If I am not on the grid next year, I will be back in 2022.”
Perez, who has been at Racing Point, previously known as Force India, since 2014, is to be replaced next year, when the team is re-branded as Aston Martin, by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
“After the first lap, it was gone, but it was all about not giving up,” said Perez, one of the most dependable and admired drivers in the paddock.
“I said to the team that the car feels like a limousine. It feels so easy. We had tremendous pace and I think we did pretty well throughout the weekend. We had pace and we read the race well.”
Though he is leaving Racing Point, he hopes he may have a chance of replacing London-born Thai Alexander Albon at Red Bull.
“This season, the luck hasn’t been with us,” said Perez, one of the most popular sporting figures in Mexico where Pedro Rodriguez, winner of the 1967 South African and 1970 Belgian Grands Prix, is a revered figure.
Rodriguez was killed racing for Ferrari in a sportscar race at Nuremburg in 1971.
Perez said that if he is not offered a seat at Red Bull for 2021, he will take a year out and consider his options for 2022.