Red Bull driver Sergio Perez was full of praise for Aston Martin‘s Fernando Alonso’s race-craft following their tight battle in Sunday’s 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Starting from ninth on the grid at Interlagos, Perez picked up two positions at the start before the red flag was brought out following an opening turn pileup involving Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen.
Once the Brazilian GP got back underway, Perez settled in behind the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell for the first quarter of the race, before jumping both of them into fourth after the pit stops.
Perez then set off after Alonso for third, with the pair enjoying a titanic battle that was settled in a drag race on the last lap of the race, with the Spaniard just prevailing by +0.053s.
“It took me a while to get through the Mercedes, and basically, that damaged my race,” Perez explained to the media. “After that, we were always on the backfoot with Fernando.
“We were chipping away from him toward the end we came really close to getting the podium, but I have to say well done to Fernando because it was a great fight, very fair racing.
“And that’s something really good because hard we raced each other always with a lot of room. Fernando will always try to play any game, but he will always be fair.”
Happy with Brazilian GP performance
Despite missing out on his first podium since September’s Italian GP, Perez enjoyed a good weekend at Interlagos, picking up valuable points in his battle with Hamilton for second in the drivers’ championship.
Perez outscored Hamilton in both the Grand Prix and the Sprint Race on a weekend where Mercedes were off the pace, as well as suffering from cooling issues which brought Russell‘s race to an end on Lap 59.
With Hamilton finishing a distant eighth, Perez‘s gap over the seven-time F1 world champion in their battle for runners-up honours is now 32 points heading into the Las Vegas GP, the penultimate race of 2023.
“I think the pace has been there for the last few weekends, but for some reason or another, we haven’t been able to put it all together,” added Perez.
“I think it’s just a matter of time before it will come. It’s a good weekend on the championship [front] because we’re getting closer [to] that second spot.
“Now let’s look forward to Vegas, which I believe [is] just a matter of time before we are able to show what we got.”