Perez relieved to finish Malaysian GP after virus almost ended his weekend
After his performance was slightly compromised in qualifying on Saturday due to a virus he was hit by in the lead up to the race, Sergio Perez feared for not seeing through the 56 laps in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Starting from ninth on the grid, Perez was already up to sixth in the opening lap and made further ground to be in the Top 5 after clearing McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne.
It was then a straightforward one-stop race for the Mexican, as he secured a sixth place finish, despite the illness - only losing out to a faster Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
But during those laps, Perez was conscious of his limitations due to the virus and was constantly hoping that he doesn't have to quit in between.
"Definitely, it is a nice result but also it is just [relieving] to make it into the finish line," said Perez. "At some point I thought I had to give up on the weekend, given my condition.
"I just kept going out of willingness to do it and I have to thank the doctors for helping me out. Having a good start was the key to my race and so was passing Vandoorne during the first few laps.
"After that, I was able to manage my race and it was all pretty uneventful. We were able to extend the first stint and manage our tyres well. I was only under pressure from Vettel, but that was not really my fight.
"We scored some more important points for the team and I am happy to come home with a good result after such a difficult weekend. I hope to be back to full fitness in Japan," he added, as they head to Japan for the next grand prix, just the next weekend.
Meanwhile, it was an eventful race for teammate Esteban Ocon, who had to see through multiple contacts to still score a point, finishing 10th.
In the opening lap, Ocon was sandwiched between Perez and Williams' Felipe Massa, which forced him to pit early on Lap 2 for a tyre change.
The Frenchman then fought back from the back slowly to be back inside the Top 10. However, a subsequent spin after contact with Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz on Lap 24, dropped him to 12th.
After a retirement to Sainz with engine problems, Ocon was back in 10th, where he would finish - continuing on his race finishes streak since his debut last year.
"It was a disappointing race and I’m not feeling very happy. The contact on lap one [in turn two] with Massa gave me a puncture and ruined my race. I had to pit on lap two and drive almost the entire race on one set of soft tyres," he said.
"When you consider the condition of the tyres at the end of the race, we did well to score the final point. The other bad moment of my race happened when I was overtaking [Carlos] Sainz and he crashed into me.
"I shouldn’t have been fighting him, but I was out of position because of the puncture and trying to recover. I don’t know what he did, but he just locked up and went straight into me, causing me to spin.
"So it’s a race to forget for me because the pace of the car was strong and we couldn’t maximise it," he added, putting the blame of the second incident on Sainz.
With its 12th double points finish in the 2017 season, Force India further strengthened its hold on fourth place with 133 points. The drivers' standings has Perez in seventh with 76 points, while Ocon is eighth with 57.