Sochi (Russia) : Sergio Perez secured Sahara Force India’s only third podium place in Formula One history by finishing third at the Russian Grand Prix after teammate Nico Hulkenberg crashed out of the incident-filled race, here on Sunday.
Force India have enjoyed only two podium places before and incidentally the last time also it was Perez who stepped onto the podium for the team at Bahrian Grand Prix in 2014.
The first ever podium for the team was secured by Giancarlo Fisichella, who had finished second in the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix from pole position.
Perez was running third till the penultimate lap but was overtaken by Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. The podium finish seemed to be slipping out of his hands but thanks to the Ferrari driver, he got his place back, seconds before the end of race.
An over-ambitious Raikkonen rammed his Ferrari into Valteri Bottas’ Williams from the back and ended his race. The Finn managed to complete the last lap but let Perez pass the two cars struggling after the contact.
“I have been enjoying with the team. Happy to be here. It seemed like everything went away from us. I was unhappy with myself. Many things came to mind. Last lap I gave it all. There was no more I could so. There was massive degradation on my tyres. Last lap, it was amazing, nice to give team a podium,” Perez said after the race. With 15 points in the kitty from the race, Force India have consolidated their fifth place in the constructors’ championship. They are now at 92, 28 more than sixth-placed Lotus. —PTI