Perez says 'fair' on Force India for not changing positions in Japanese GP
The Force India drivers were once again running together on track after the Japanese Grand Prix settled in, with Esteban Ocon ahead of Sergio Perez.
The Frenchman had a brilliant start to run third, before he lost out to the faster cars of Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).
It was on Lap 39 when Ocon was behind Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, who hadn't stopped yet, when Perez radioed his team to let him by, since Ocon was running slower.
“Can I attack Esteban, he’s too slow?” Perez asked. “No Checo, no Checo, hold station,” Force India replied - just when Hulkenberg dived into the pits to release them in clear air.
"I was not allowed to do so [pass Ocon] which is fair enough," said Perez after the race. "I could have overtaken him.
"I think he did a mistake at the re-start but team orders….in the end, it doesn’t change anything as a team, so in that perspective, it’s fine.
"Esteban did a great job during the whole weekend. The last two races have been really strong for us and I am very pleased with the results we have achieved."
On the other hand, Ocon rued missing on a podium after such a strong start, but admitted it was always going to be tough to keep back the faster cars.
"I had a great start, it was definitely good, I managed to pass Ricciardo in Turn 2 and was ahead of them for a long time which was a great feeling.
"But we are still lacking a little bit of pace to just keep them behind. After that we did the maximum we could have done today," he said.
"I was running ahead of Checo, we had nothing to gain from the cars ahead and a comfortable margin to the cars behind. So the priority was to bring the car home and score the big points."
With its 13th double points finish of the season, Force India has 147 points points as they sit comfortably fourth in the constructors' championship.
In the drivers' standings, Perez stays seventh with 82 points now, while Ocon is eighth with 65 - soundly ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr.