Mexican Grand Prix turns drivers into gladiators
Like a conductor leading an orchestra, Mexican Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg stood on top of his Mercedes on Sunday to take in the applause of more than 50,000 fervent Formula 1 fans.
The scene was like no other in the sport - Rosberg stood in the middle of what doubles as a baseball stadium, packed stands surrounding him.
In other races, the podium usually stands elevated above the start-finish straight, with team personnel and a lucky few allowed to watch on from below.
In Mexico, though, the drivers stood like gladiators, presented as heroes to the enthusiastic masses.
The Mexican Grand Prix was back on the F1 calendar for the first time in 23 years, with Britain's Nigel Mansell the last driver to win the race before Rosberg's triumph on Sunday.
Back then, there was no stadium section but drivers and team personnel alike were united in their praise of its inclusion.
"The best I've ever seen in all my life. The best," said three-time world champion Niki Lauda, who is now non-executive chairman at Mercedes.
"The magic is the Mexicans. The magic is the organisers who made this happen. The way they organised the spectator places for me was the best I've ever seen. And then the podium right in front of all the people.
"Formula 1 got back to where you can feel it and touch it and this is the most important thing."
'It's like a football match'
"It's the best podium of the year," said Rosberg, moments after facing the cheering crowd on the podium inside the stadium.
"To be in a stadium like that and the atmosphere and the energy was just unbelievable."
"It is like a football match," added Lewis Hamilton, who finished second.
"In the whole entire time I have been in Formula I have never seen anything like it."
For Guadalajara-born Perez, who was greeted by huge cheers from the local fans wherever he went, it has been an unforgettable experience.
"I will remember this weekend forever," he said. "I think everybody has enjoyed the energy of the crowd and this must surely be one of the most popular races on the calendar now."
It would seem, then, that the return of the Mexican Grand Prix was a resounding success and Lauda had one piece of advice for F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone: "Copy this race."