Force India's Perez says safety car 'destroyed' Mexican GP hopes

Sergio Perez says the deployment of the safety car in the Mexican GP "destroyed" his chances of achieving a strong Formula 1 result on home soil with an ambitious one-stop strategy

Force India's Perez says safety car 'destroyed' Mexican GP hopes

When Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel crashed at the esses to bring out the safety car, it allowed his rivals to dive into the pits for what was effectively a free second stop.

Mexican Grand Prix driver ratings

Force India chose to stick with its strategy and not to pit Perez, which meant the local hero could not challenge team-mate Nico Hulkenberg ahead and had to battle to keep Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen behind.

Ultimately, Perez managed an impressive 53 laps on the mediums - when Pirelli had anticipated the tyre would last around 40 - to cross the line eighth.

"It destroyed totally my race and at the same time, it gave me a hard time to finish," said Perez.

"Everyone behind pitted, everyone in front pitted and I was the only car out there with more than 30 laps on the same medium tyres.

"To risk those tyres was a big challenge.

"Just to keep Verstappen on the new softs behind and make that tyre last until the end with the issues of braking was tough.

"It was difficult to keep the car on track and not to do any mistakes because it would have been a disaster if I had done mistake at that time."

Had the safety car not been called into action, Perez believes he was on course for a much stronger result - but remained pleased with his weekend overall.

"I would have definitely moved up places if the strategy went normally," said Perez, ninth in the drivers' standings, 22 points clear of Hulkenberg.

"I was on a good one-stop strategy and it was looking good but then we had the safety car.

"But at the end of the day, there were so many things out of my hands.

"What I could do, I did perfectly, so I'm happy with that.

"I have been very lucky in the past with safety cars, this is how things go in racing, you cannot be disappointed for those things and you have to move on.

"It's been a great championship up to now so I have to keep the momentum going for the next few races."

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