Sergio Perez said he is not done with F1 after taking his maiden victory in the Sakhir Grand Prix in what is currently set to be his penultimate race.
Perez, who took 190 races to claim his first win, will be replaced at Racing Point team next year by Sebastien Vettel and despite being one of the most highly-rated drivers on the grid he is currently without a drive for 2021.
He was left close to speechless after becoming the first Mexican to win an F1 race for 50 years and, with Red Bull currently weighing up between him and Alex Albon, this could be the race that tips the balance.
“It just gives me a bit more peace with myself,” said Perez of his win. “What happens is not so much in my hands at the moment, but I know and I want to keep going. So, if I am not on the grid next year I will be back in 2022.
“I’m a bit speechless. I hope I’m not dreaming, because I dreamed so many years being in this moment. 10 years it took me. Incredible. I don’t know what to say.”
Astonishingly, Perez came back from last after being pitched into a spin by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in a frantic turn-four tussle on the opening lap.
The emotional driver sat alone on the podium after the [pretend] champagne celebrations, taking in the moment, still unable to contemplate the race that had just happened.
Perez moved to the front after the leading Mercedes pair George Russell and Valtteri Bottas dropped back following a confused double pit stop that put them both out of contention for victory.
Russell fought back to within three seconds of Perez but was then pulled back into the pits after picking up a rear puncture, but the Racing Point driver insisted he still had it in the bag.
“After the first lap, the race was gone,” he said. “But it was all about not giving up, recovering, going for it, just making the best we possibly could
“The decision, the luck hasn’t been with us this year but we finally got it. We won on merit, the Mercs had some issues but in the end my pace was strong enough to hold George, who did a fantastic race today.
“I did a big mistake during the safety car, I locked up my front left tyre badly so during my first stint I had so much vibration. But as soon as I recovered, after the second stint, I told my team this car feels just like a limousine”
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