Sergio Perez says first lap push from Fernando Alonso cost him track position
It was not the usual plain-sailing for Force India in the Brazil Grand Prix, with only Sergio Perez scoring the two points, while Esteban Ocon's long run of race finishes coming to an end.
Starting from fifth, Perez had a difficult run after he got pushed onto the grass from McLaren's Fernando Alonso in Turn 2, which also let by Williams' Felipe Massa.
The team opted for a different strategy, however, the hot track temperature meant Perez was unable to push as hard. Despite catching both Massa and Alonso in the end, the Mexican was left with no laps to make the move.
"The issue for us was that we simply [lost the race] in Turn 2, when Alonso pushed me wide onto the grass, therefore I lost a position to Massa and afterwards it was just quite difficult," he said.
"[And with] the high track temperature, [it] meant we couldn’t push today too hard. As soon as you try to attack, you have massive degradation.
"We tried to change our strategy, but in the end we didn’t managed to get it," he added. Massa's pace in the final sector and Alonso's advantage in the second sector left Perez with little chance to push through.
Meanwhile, it was a disappointing end to Ocon's race, after he was tagged out by Haas' Romain Grosjean on Lap 1 itself - the Frenchman was handed a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision by the stewards.
"I’m not happy to retire from the race. I knew this day would come at some stage, but I wasn’t expecting it to be today. It’s a shame because it has been three years since my last retirement in single-seaters [in 2014]," he said.
"There was nothing I could do; Romain [Grosjean] lost the car in turn six and crashed into me. He made a mistake and I suffered from it, my front wheel rim was damaged so I couldn’t even drive back to the pits.
"It’s frustrating because the car was quick and we had the pace to be fighting up there with Checo. Days like this happen but I hope it will be another three years before it happens again.”
This was Ocon's first retirement in 27 F1 races, while his first in the single-seater racing since the 2014 Macau Grand Prix. Although his last DNF came in the DTM's Norisring round in the 2016 season.
The Frenchman's retirement helped Perez to extend his points difference to 11 in the drivers' standings in the fight for seventh, while Force India has now 177 in its kitty, sitting fourth in the constructors' championship.