It wasn’t the closing race Sergio Perez was expecting, but the disappointing finale has taken nothing away from the pride the departing Racing Point driver feels for his “boys”.
Perez had his work cut out from the outset in Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP as an engine change entailed a start from the back of the grid.
But armed with the same determination that had seen him hustle himself from last to first at Sakhir, Perez had progressed to P14 after just seven laps.
Alas, his RP20 ground to a halt on lap 10, powerless and forcing its driver to endure a disappointing end to his seven-year tenure with Force India/Racing Point.
It was a bitter blow for both driver and team as the Silverstone squad found itself unable to retain its P3 position in the Constructors’ championship as teammate Lance Stroll could only finish 10th.
“It’s a bit sad leaving the team this way but I told my boys – some of them were crying – you just have to remember what happened last weekend, what happened in the entire season,” Perez said.
“It wasn’t an easy year for us. We still managed to finish P4 in the drivers’ championship, we missed two races with COVID, reliability issues hit us really hard this season.
“In the end, it’s a shame that we just missed out on third in the constructors’ championship.
“Well done to McLaren, they really deserved that, they did a tremendous job with the car that they had. The drivers delivered weekend after weekend, so well done to them.”
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As a loyal team member and outstanding driver, and also as the man who crucially set in motion in the summer of 2018 the legal proceedings that allowed the pink squad to survive and fight another day, Perez will be sorely missed next season when Sebastian Vettel takes his place.
But the 30-year-old says he is leaving Racing Point a “very happy” man, knowing that those he leaves behind are facing a bright future.
“I am leaving very happy,”-” he said. “I am always will be very proud of my boys. I think saving their jobs at the time was one of the best decisions I’ve taken in my life.
“That team will always be my favourite team in Formula 1 because they gave me all and I gave them back everything so I look forward to seeing them being very successful.
“The future is looking very bright for them so I look forward to seeing them more races.”
Not all heroes wear capes 🤜🤛
Some wear nomex 😉#GraciasCheco #AbuDabhiGP #F1 @SChecoPerez
🎥 x @F1
— BWT Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) December 13, 2020
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