Collide and conquer as Perez grabs third
Sergio Perez oozed joy Sunday after finishing a surprise third for Force India in the Russian Grand Prix, thanks to a last lap collision that gifted him his podium finish.
Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari collided with fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas of Williams on the final lap when they were fighting for third place behind the triumphant Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and second-placed Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
Both lost their chance of a podium spot with the accident and Perez, who was running fifth, was the lucky driver to pick up the pieces.
“I am going through a great moment in my career, from where we are it is difficult to realise,” said Mexican driver Perez.
“It makes me confident. We were not expecting the podium at all.”
He added: “I lost the podium place one lap before the end, but it was very difficult to hold Valtteri and Kimi back at that stage.
“I could not brake very hard, I was at risk of flat-spotting tyres, there was a certain level of risk that I was able to take and I thought if not a podium, let’s come back with points.
“It seemed like everything went away from us, at that point when they passed me -– I felt I was just so unhappy with myself, but until the last lap I gave it my all.”
His Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was forced to retire after an opening lap collision with Marcus Ericcson of Sauber.