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Perez calls run to P6 in Malaysia ‘hardest race’ after sickness

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Force India Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez’s run to sixth place on Sunday in Malaysia was made all the more impressive by the fact he had been battling severe sickness all weekend long due to a stomach infection.

Perez was ill from the Thursday onwards at Sepang, but managed to qualify ninth before finishing as the leading midfield driver in the race, crossing the line sixth.

The Mexican feared he may be forced to retire mid-race due to how he was feeling, but was thankful to pick up another decent haul of points for Force India.

“It was probably the hardest race of my career, on a weekend in which I feared I would need to give up. It is an amazing result just to make it to the finish,” Perez said.

“I just kept going out of willingness to do it and I have to thank the doctors for helping me out.

“Having a good start was the key to my race and so was passing [Stoffel] Vandoorne during the first few laps. After that, I was able to manage my race and it was all pretty uneventful.

“We were able to extend the first stint and manage our tires well. I was only under pressure from [Sebastian] Vettel, but that was not really my fight.

“We scored some more important points for the team and I am happy to come home with a good result after such a difficult weekend.

“I hope to be back to full fitness in Japan.”

Champion Marc Marquez leads MotoGP into virtual world Sunday

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During its layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MotoGP will become the latest racing series to enter the virtual world.

The MotoGP Virtual Race will be held at 9 a.m. ET Sunday, March 29 with 10 riders. It will be streamed on several platforms, including the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel. Reigning series champion Marc Marquez is among the riders in the field.

The premier class of MotoGP has yet to hit the track this season as its opener was canceled and the next three races were postponed, including the Grand Prix of the Americas being moved from April 5 to Nov. 15.

Several other racing series have tried online racing in recent weeks.

IMSA held a “SuperSaturday at Sebring” March 21 in place of the postponed Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. NASCAR started its Pro Invitational Series last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will continue Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar kicked off its six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge with a Saturday race at Watkins Glen International that was won by Sage Karam.