Perez lined up 19th on the grid after a crash and a gearbox change penalty during qualifying, but gained 13 places to finish a strong sixth at Interlagos.
“Checo also drove a superb race today, surging from 19th on the grid to sixth at the flag, and I’m personally delighted that he was able to end his year at McLaren with such a fantastic performance,” said Whitmarsh.
“As I’ve said many times, he’s a fine driver. He’s also a lovely guy, and the way he’s conducted himself over the past ten days, in particular, in extremely challenging circumstances, has been hugely impressive. He’s a class act.”
In the run-up to the United States Grand Prix McLaren announced Perez will be replaced by rookie driver Kevin Magnussen next year.
Jenson Button gave McLaren their highest finish of the year with fourth place. “Undoubtedly, that was our best grand prix of the year,” said Whitmarsh. “It’s frustrating to have to say that after a race in which our drivers finished only fourth and sixth, but it’s also true.”
However Whitmarsh took some comfort from the result, saying: “The manner in which those results were achieved was heartening indeed.”
“Both Jenson and Checo had difficulties in qualifying, through no fault of their own, but the way they charged through the field from their lowly grid slots this afternoon was seriously impressive.”