• Bahrain Grand Prix

'Emotional' podium after 2013 struggles - Perez

ESPN Staff
April 6, 2014 « No excuse for lack of pace - Alonso | Ferrari felt like it was in a lower class - Raikkonen »
Sergio Perez took his first podium since Monza 2012 © Getty Images

Sergio Perez admits his podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix was an emotional one after his testing year at McLaren last season left him on the verge of quitting F1.

Perez held off Daniel Ricciardo across the line in Sakhir to record Force India's first podium since 2009. His struggles at McLaren last season were well-documented, when he was replaced by Kevin Magnussen, and Perez admits it was special to return to the podium after the whole experience left him doubting his future in the sport.

"It means a lot to me," Perez said. "We have been having so many issues, with my car especially, so I was very happy and very emotional about this podium. It is no secret that I had a really tough time at McLaren. Joining a big team as a young driver, I was really hungry for success, and thinking it was my best chance ever of fighting for my title because that is my biggest aim in F1. When I came I found out it was a bit of a disappointment, I was really frustrated. Maybe I didn't act in the best possible way or cope with the situation as best I could but all I cared about is winning. When the McLaren decision came I was really frustrated with how things went. I really wanted to find that team that really motivated myself to stay in F1, I was ready to look for other options [outside F1]."

Perez feels confident his podium will remind a few people in the paddock of his ability to be competitive.

"I'm very proud of myself for how I turned this situation around. We know in Formula One you go from hero to zero, and the opposite, very easily. I never doubted my quality as a driver, but I thought I had my chance and didn't make the most of it. I thought it was over for me. Force India came along for me and they are doing a great job. It gives a great message to the top teams that I am hungry for success. I'm sure that opportunity will come again, and if it comes I will take it with both hands. At the moment I am very happy at Force India and I think we can have a good season if we can capitalise."

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