Sergio Perez says his performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix proves he can justify his place at McLaren.
Perez finished sixth after beating his team mate and Fernando Alonso in tough wheel-to-wheel battles.
“We’ve been through some very difficult moments but I think this is the start of our season,” said Perez. “I never lost my confidence, I always believed in myself. I’ve shown the critics that I can do a good job.”
Perez came in for some criticism after lackluster performances in the early races of the season.
He drew fire from Kimi Raikkonen for the manner in which he defended his position in China. But, as was also the case with Alonso in Bahrain, the stewards were unmoved by the complaints of Perez’s rivals.
Perez focused on honing his race set-up in Bahrain which allowed him to go on the attack from 12th on the grid.
“The strategy and the pace of the car allows you to be different,” said Perez. “You are not defending, you are attacking.”
Team mate Jenson Button also felt Perez had overstepped the mark in Bahrain but the pair resolved their differences:
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.