Bahrain GP: Perez podium 'special' after tough 2013

Sergio Perez says his first podium for Force India in the Bahrain Grand Prix was "special" after his struggles at McLaren in 2013

Bahrain GP: Perez podium 'special' after tough 2013

The Mexican, who scored three podiums for Sauber in 2012 before earning his move to McLaren, endured a tough season with the Woking team as it suffered its first campaign without a podium finish since 1980.

Perez came out on top in a battle with team-mate Nico Hulkenberg and sustained late-race pressure from Daniel Ricciardo to take third place behind Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes cars.

Bahrain Grand Prix report

Speaking about the significance of the result, Perez said: "It means a lot. It is a very special podium for me.

"I had a really tough time, my time at McLaren where I basically was far away and didn't have a chance to fight for the podium.

"When I joined McLaren it was a very fast team, the fastest team there, so when the McLaren option came to me I didn't think twice.

"I was hoping to fight for the title and win races. But it was really tough, more than people realise.

"It was not easy for me to fight for a podium, so to do it here in this race is a great feeling."

Perez said that the late-race safety car that closed the pack up made his race tougher, as it put him under pressure from cars that were faster in the closing stages.

"We were at a big disadvantage compared to the people behind," he said. "The safety car made things really hard.

"I was looking quite comfortable before that, but once it came it was difficult to switch the prime tyre on.

"I tried my best to keep my position and I managed it, then we had a Red Bull car that was quick at the end, and we managed to stay ahead."

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