In the final lap of the championship, Sergio Perez overtook Land Norris and thus directly secured 10th place in the drivers’ championship, calling his overtaking move ‘one of the best of his career’.
Perez started 10th on the medium tires and extended his stint to 37 laps, most of all drivers on that coumpound, which secured him a short 18 lap second stint on hard tyres.
The Mexican managed to get to eighth place, behind his direct rival for tenth place in the drivers’ championship Norris, and had to pass him on the track to overtake him in the standings.
And while it seemed that Norris, on 29 laps of older hard tyres, would be able to hold Perez, the Racing Point driver was able to pass him on the outside of Turn 11, after the second DRS zone, and finish seventh, which was enough to finish 10th in the standings.
With that success, Perez finished in the top10 in the championship for the sixth consecutive year and it is somehow ironic that the last time he didn’t finish in the top10 was in 2013 while he was driving for McLaren.
That season is his only in the last eight years that he has not finished in the top ten, with his best placings at the end of the season being his seventh place in Force India in 2016 and 2017.
“The first part of my race was a bit messy. I got a big hit from Gasly into Turn 1, which meant that I lost a position to Magnussen,” said Perez.
“Because the DRS wasn’t enabled at the start, we lost a bit of time behind him, but I managed to overtake even without DRS. After a long first stint, we had to push hard to catch up to the midfield group.”
“We had a very strong end to the race and my final lap overtake on Norris in Turn 11 was one of the best of my career. The six points we scored means that I have finished inside the top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship and I’m pleased we could do that. I cannot wait to start next season already.”
Stroll only driver failed to finish
Stroll finished 15th in the drivers’ championship which is his second best F1 career finish after being 12th in his debut season with Williams in 2017.
“I had contact on the first lap with Gasly and had to pit because of the damage to my front wing,” said Stroll.
“After that, we were out of position, running down the order, and it was really hard to get back into contention. We explored the strategy options and I stopped twice, but when you lose so much time early on by changing the front wing, it’s difficult to recover.”
“Unfortunately, we had a brake issue so we have to see what went wrong because I was struggling to stop the car. That’s why we retired. All in all, just a disappointing race.”
Szafnauer pleased to finish 2019 with a ‘best of the rest’ finish
“I’m pleased we could end the season with a strong performance and seventh place for Checo – as best of the rest – is a well-deserved result for the entire team,” said Szafnauer.
“We judged the strategy well tonight with a one-stop race combined with some excellent overtakes by Checo. The move on Lando [Norris] for seventh place, on the final lap, was the pick of the bunch.”
“Unfortunately Lance’s race ended in retirement due to a brake issue in the final few laps. Before that it had been a tough race with some damage on the opening lap forcing a very early pit-stop for a front wing change, which ended Lance’s chance of fighting for points.”
F1 2019 – middle of the pack