Perez hailed after P2 at Istanbul: 'He more than deserves his place in F1'

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Sergio Perez has been heralded for his performance after claiming second place at the Turkish Grand Prix.

While it was his Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll who took pole and led the majority of Sunday's race in Istanbul, a second pit-stop triggered a late capitulation, which saw the Canadian drop to ninth in the final results.

By contrast, Perez made Lewis Hamilton's strategy of running his original set of intermediates until they were slick pay off, even if he was slightly fortunate to reclaim P2 after Charles Leclerc's mistake on the final lap.

But with this podium coming at a time when the Mexican is facing the exit door from the grid for 2021, many were happy to put a strong word in for Checo.

"Perez put in a great performance and, as I’ve said before, it would be a tragedy if he isn’t in F1 next year," F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn said in his column.

"He more than deserves his place on the grid. If you’re a team wants a competitive driver to maximise every opportunity, Perez is your man."

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Sky Sports commentator and ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle agreed in his own post-race comments.

“The soon to be unemployed Perez showed his class and experience almost as well as Hamilton,” he wrote.

“His pace and racecraft were excellent, and despite being passed by Charles Leclerc four corners from home, he still managed to seize second place back to equal his best-ever result achieved back in 2012, and his ninth podium.

“Surely he’s firmly on Red Bull’s radar if they decide to change Alex Albon. Perez could undoubtedly have had podiums in Austria, Portimao and Imola too but for some bad luck, and he missed two races with Covid-19.”

Indeed, it is the Thai driver's seat that is considered Perez's only realistic option for next year, and before the weekend he acknowledged it's a waiting game.

"At the moment we will just have to wait and see,” he said. “The season is coming soon to an end so as I said before until the teams don’t announce a driver, then everything is an option.

"Every team that hasn’t announced their line up is an option so we will see.

“Everything is so late now and it looks like I will know whether I continue in Formula 1 or not quite late in the year so I think a sabbatical - it’s an option. We will see what happens in the next couple of weeks."

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Even if Perez was to miss out on a seat though, he wouldn't feel hard done by.

"Is it an injustice on missing out? I think it’s part of F1,” he explained. “I always knew this is how it is. I can call myself privileged. I’ve had a great career, 10 years in F1 up until now. 

“If that was the case that I have to leave the sport I can leave with a lot of pride because I’ve delivered with the material I’ve had and not many people can have such a career. We will see what happens but I am at peace with myself.”