RACE DEBRIEF

    Sergio Perez narrowly missed out on P2 in the constructors’ championship after finishing in third place at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. However, despite the result, the Mexican believes he and his team can still be “pleased” by their performance this season.

    Perez started the race in second, alongside his team mate Max Verstappen on the front row of the grid. The two Red Bull drivers ran in first and second for most of the evening, before Perez was forced to pit for a second time as Charles Leclerc closed in from behind.

    Perez then looked to chase down Leclerc but ran out of laps in the end, forcing him to settle for third in the race and in the championship. Speaking after the Grand Prix, Perez believed his race was compromised by a less than ideal second stint.

    READ MORE: Verstappen cruises to victory in Abu Dhabi as Leclerc seals P2 in standings over Perez

    “I’m pleased because I gave it all, you know,” said Perez. “Obviously we look back, there were things we could have done better, like that middle stint, you know, we were still thinking that we were on a one-stop at that point.

    “So, I think that really caught us out a little bit and that really meant that we lost a few seconds there where we were behind Max. Max was on a one-stop and we were on a two, so that middle stint wasn’t ideal for us.”

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    Perez was forced to pit for a second time as Leclerc closed the gap on him for second

    It has been a commendable second season at Red Bull for Perez – having won two races in Monaco and Singapore – but the Mexican racer already had his eyes on a “strong” 2023 campaign.

    READ MORE: ‘I was at 110% from start to finish’ – Leclerc hails ‘perfect race’ as he beats Perez to P2 in the championship

    “Certainly there are some great, great days that we had during the season,” said Perez. "We had great moments, great battling. I think I did struggle a bit with the tyres for this year, in terms of managing the tyres in the race. So, hopefully that can be something we improve for next [year] and generally just be a bit stronger.

    “So, we can be pleased... and yeah, I mean, to regroup altogether, you know, it’s nice to finish this season and look forward for another strong year next year.”