Tyres cost one-stopping Perez sixth
Sergio Perez said that he lost a number of positions on the final lap because of contact with Nico Rosberg and badly worn tyres.
Perez had put in a hugely impressive drive to climb through from last on the grid to be running sixth at the start of the final lap after a one-stop strategy. He was holding off a host of cars but lost out to Rosberg and then slipped back to eighth in the final sector. Perez said that the race was "tough" for him but that the overall result for the team was positive.
"After I had to start last on the grid because of changing the gear box I knew I had to try everything to gain positions right after the start," Perez said. "I managed to get into 12th behind Kamui and touched his car while he had to avoid crashing into the Williams car in front of him. My front wing was then damaged and this was only one of the difficulties I had today during the race. I also had to save tyres, also for some time fuel, and I had to fight to defend my position.
"It really was a tough race for me. Then on the very last lap Pastor (Maldonado) crashed and I backed off because of the debris. But then Nico (Rosberg) overtook me, our cars touched and I had to finish the race with tyres that were completely gone. Of course I'm not happy to have lost my position on the final lap, but I am very happy for the team because finishing sixth and eight is a good start to the season."
It was Kobayashi who benefitted from the contact with Rosberg as the Mercedes slowed and he inherited sixth place. Kobayashi said he was pleased the result, and even more so considering that his car was damaged in an early collision with Perez.
"I am very happy - for the team and myself," he said. "Finishing sixth is a great start to the season. After the start I nearly crashed into Bruno (Senna) who spun in front of me. I was lucky to avoid hitting him, but at the same time Sergio could not avoid touching me and then I had to do the whole race with a damaged rear wing. This was very difficult and for sure cost car performance. However, after the first lap I had improved two positions.
"I was on a two stop strategy, with two sets of softs in the beginning and the medium compound for the last stint. With my second pit stop I had bad luck with the timing because the safety car came out just after I had pitted. Then I was running in ninth position until the ultimate lap when Pastor (Maldonado) crashed and Sergio had a battle with Nico (Rosberg). I went passed and finished sixth."