Sergio Perez’s final race for Racing Point didn’t have a fairy tale ending, the Mexican driver the only retirement at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.
Perez said goodbye to Racing Point on Sunday night, a team that he joined in 2014 when it was still Force India.
Taking seven of his 10 career podiums with the Silverstone-based team, Perez left Racing Point as the team’s most successful driver.
Unfortunately he could not cap it with an 11th podium or even a point on Sunday as he retired from the race when his RP20 lost power.
Perez started the grand prix from the back of the field due to an engine penalty but, as he proved at the Sakhir Grand Prix when he raced from the back to the very front to take his first and only F1 win, grid positions don’t always count for much.
He had began to work his way up the order, passing Kimi Raikkonen for 13th, when his engine gave up.
“I definitely feel sad, leaving the team in this way,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“Some of them were crying in the end so I told them we have to remember what happened last weekend, what happened in the entire season. It wasn’t an easy year for us.
“We still managed to finish P4 in the Drivers’ Championship, we missed two races with Covid, reliability issues hit us really hard this season and in the end, it is a shame we just missed out on P3 in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Well done to McLaren, they deserved that, they have done a tremendous job with the car they had, the drivers delivered weekend after weekend so well done to them.”
A day for farewells, emotion, and donuts 🍩
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 13, 2020
Despite being dropped in the fashion that he was, team owner Lawrence Stroll buying him out of his contract, Perez says Racing Point remains his “favourite team”.
The Mexican was instrumental in the team’s survival in 2018 as he pushed into administration, forcing the sale of the team which ensured its survival.
Ironically the man who bought the team, Stroll, was also the man who let him go.
Perez added: “I am leaving very happy, I will always be very proud of my boys.
“Saving their jobs at the time was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
“That team will always be my favourite team in Formula 1 because they gave me all and I gave them back everything.
“I look forward to seeing them very successful. The future is looking bright for them so I look forward to seeing them win more races.”
Perez’s time in Formula 1 may not be over with Sky Sport’s Ted Kravitz reporting that Red Bull will confirm the 30-year-old as Alex Albon’s replacement in the coming days.