Perez enjoyed Melbourne battle with ‘hard but fair’ Hamilton

Sergio Perez picked up a second-placed finish in Australia after a mechanical failure for team-mate Max Verstappen.

Sergio Perez was pleased to recover from a difficult start to the race to claim the 16th podium of his Formula 1 career at the 2022 Australian Grand Prix.

Having started the race in third behind team-mate Max Verstappen and polesitter Charles Leclerc, the Mexican was passed by Sir Lewis Hamilton off the start, but managed to get back ahead of him later in the race.

He disclosed that the tyres did not feel too comfortable during the opening part of the race, but enjoyed his race once he got onto the hard tyres, passing George Russell having lost out due to a Safety Car.

READ: Controversial Max Verstappen tactic banned by the FIA

“The start was a bit tricky,” he told Mark Webber after the race.

“Lewis overtook me on the inside. He broke really late, he had a really good Turn One and yeah after that it was about getting him, the Virtual Safety Car and so on.

“My first stint was very poor, in terms of degradation we struggled quite a lot.

“Then on the hards with the Safety Car we were a bit unlucky there, we lost two positions which we recovered later.”

Red Bull Powertrains, who power Red Bull and AlphaTauri, suffered the sixth reliability failure of the season when Verstappen retired from the race in Melbourne late on, promoting Perez to second.

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The 32-year-old hopes the Milton Keynes side can resolve their reliability problems as quickly as possible.

“It’s a good result but unfortunately we lost Max, it would have been great to have a double-podium for the team,” he added.

READ: Verstappen concerned by Ferrari’s pace in Melbourne

“[I’m] looking forward, we’ve been a bit too unlucky in the first two races.”

The Red Bull driver made a tremendous pass stick on Hamilton later on the race after the Briton executed a surprisingly effective overcut, but his pass round the outside was stunning.

“Always with Lewis it’s very entertaining,” he affirmed.

“[He’s a] very hard racer but very fair and yeah we always have fun together.”

Red Bull continue to run third in the Constructors’ Standings after Verstappen’s retirement, while Perez sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship after his P2 finish over the weekend.