Indian GP: Sergio Perez pleased to ease the pressure
McLaren's Sergio Perez was pleased to ease some of the pressure on himself with an impressive fifth-placed finish at the Indian Grand Prix.
There has been speculation that the Mexican, 23, could lose his drive for next season.
"Without question, I have a lot of pressure on my shoulders," he said.
"It's always sweeter when you perform well while under pressure. It's been a tough season, but today's result is a promising sign."
He added: "In the closing laps, it was a fantastic feeling to get past Kimi [Raikkonen] and Lewis [Hamilton] in a single move. I just braked as late as I could for Turn Four to try and keep Lewis behind - and I managed to do it.
Indian GP stats
- Track temperature: 32C
- Air temperature: 29C
- Ave wind speed: 1.5 metres per second
- Humidity: 36%
- Fastest lap: K Raikkonen 1 min 27.679 secs
- Fastest speeds:
- Sector 1: S Perez 262kph (163mph)
- Sector 2: F Alonso, K Raikkonen Ricciardo 244kph (152mph)
- Sector 3: F Alonso 225kph (140mph)
- Speed Trap: E Guttierez, N Hulkenberg 321kph (199mph)
"It really motivates the whole workforce ahead of the last three races, where we'll be doing our best to get more strong finishes under our belts."
His fifth place was his best of the season so far and in contrast to that of his team-mate Jenson Button, who was again left disappointed following his 14th place.
Two stops inside the first 13 laps did little to help, first for a new nose just before he suffered a puncture.
"Today was just one of those days. I got hit quite hard on the right-hand side by Fernando [Alonso] on the first lap," he said. "I don't quite know why he couldn't make to the apex, as I'd given him loads of room, but he hit me in the side pretty hard.
"Without that contact, and the resultant puncture, I think we could have had some fun out there. It's just a shame, because our car was quick around here - Checo showed just what was possible by driving an extremely good race."
Previous Indian GP winners
- 2011 - Sebastian Vettel
- 2012 - Sebastian Vettel
- 2013 - Sebastian Vettel
After contact with Button on the first lap, it was also an afternoon to forget for Alonso, who eventually finished 11th.
The result was the Spaniard's worst finish of the season and the first time he has finished outside the points since July 2010, at the British Grand Prix.
"It was not a clear start. I was a bit unlucky the race was uphill from that moment," he said. "It was a difficult race, with not enough pace and the car was damaged.
"The steering wheel was very heavy into the right corners and light into the left corners. Overall the weekend was not good enough and in Abu Dhabi we need to improve if we want to pass Mercedes in the constructors' championship."
A second-placed finish for Nico Rosberg saw Mercedes move into second place with just three races remaining.
Rosberg, 28, scored the team's eighth podium of the season, while team-mate Hamilton finished sixth.
"For our team, it was a very important race today. We scored a lot of points and climbed back up to second place in the constructors' championship," said Rosberg.
"I'm quite confident that we can keep that position until the end of the season as the team is doing a great job and our car looks good but it will be a fight."
Elsewhere it was an enjoyable day for Force India, at their home grand prix, with both drivers finishing in the points for the fifth time this season.
"It's great to score points here in India - the team's home grand prix and a really important race for us," said Paul Di Resta, who finished eighth.
Indian Grand Prix fact-file
- Venue: Buddh International Circuit, New Delhi
- Circuit length: 5.125km/3.184 miles
- Laps: 60
- Race distance: 307.249km/190.915 miles
- Lap record: 1min 27.249secs (Sebastian Vettel, 2011)
- Winners: Sebastian Vettel 2011, 2012, 2013
"The other positive is that we've steadily improved the car over the last few weeks and I'm feeling more comfortable, so I think we can be optimistic of performing at a similar level in Abu Dhabi next week."
Di Resta's team-mate Adrian Sutil, who finished ninth, added: "After some difficult races recently, we showed everybody what we can achieve with some great teamwork today."
Lotus' Romain Grosjean enjoyed his third consecutive third place finish, to move him up to seventh in the drivers' championship.
The Frenchman reached the podium despite starting the race in 17th.
"If you had told me yesterday that I'd be on the podium here I would have said you were crazy!" he said.
"Before the race our best prediction was fourth if we had a strong start and a perfect race, so it was an amazing result and a great performance from the team."