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Perez finishes with unexpected Fastest Lap

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Danner Reviews Malaysia

Perez takes surprising second Fastest Lap of the season

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Danner’s Pick for Shanghai GP

Who will race the Fastest Lap at the 2013 FORMULA 1 UBS CHINESE GRAND PRIX

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McLaren Mercedes driver, Sergio “Checo” Perez chalked up a solid performance in Malaysia, fighting hard in the upper midfield to finish ninth and in the points for the first time in the silver bullet. Forced to pit late, the Mexican ace ended the day with the fastest lap and hopes that the upward trend will continue.

As most eyes were fixed on the now notorious dual between Red Bull Racing teammates, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, in the final laps of the 2013 FORMULA 1 PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX, McLaren Mercedes driver Sergio Perez was holding his own in eighth place after a solid performance in the hot, humid and early on wet conditions at the Sepang International Circuit.

Despite the media’s current fixation on Red Bull, the new Pirelli compounds continue to be top F1 water cooler talk and will most likely remain fan and pundit fodder throughout the season. The blistering heat on the track in Sepang makes tire degradation a problem and most teams came into Sunday’s race with four-pit strategies due to the wet start. Although it seemed Perez would be one of the few drivers to finish on a three-pit strategy, he was forced to pit late for hards with only two laps to go.

“Unfortunately, towards the end of the race, my tires began to degrade a bit too much, especially my front left, and we therefore felt it would be too risky to try to drive to the finish on that set,” said Perez, who’s known to friends, fans and teammates as Checo. “Consequently, we had no real option other than to make an extra pit stop, which caused me to lose position.”

On fresh tires, Checo ended the second race of his third F1 season by pushing himself and his car to the limit on his way to the finish line, scoring the day’s Fastest Lap in 1min 39.199sec, averaging over 200km/hr on the 5.543km track.

It was a strange and unexpected win considering the fact that the McLaren has struggled to keep pace and Perez was never in a position to compete for a podium spot. “His car was almost in qualifying trim when he went out for the last lap,” explains DHL Formula 1 Expert Christian Danner. Watch the video at the top of this page to see some footage of Sergio’s fastest lap and listen to what else Danner has to say about it.

Danner’s Fastest Lap pick for Shanghai

Who do you think will race the next Fastest Lap at Shanghai International Circuit on April 14? Watch the video above to see what our expert has to say.

A solid performance at Sepang can certainly bode well for the rest of the season. The long straights and tight hairpins together with several high-speed direction changes make the Malaysian Grand Prix one heck of a challenge. It’s no coincidence that the winner here has gone on to win the World Championship three of the past four seasons.

On the radio as he crossed the finish line Perez heard this: “You finished P9. Not where we wanted to be but you set the fastest lap of the race at the end. Good job.” The ninth place finish was two better than in Melbourne and gave the Mexican pilot his first two points in the drivers’ standings. The fastest lap gave him some hope that there is room to build on his solid start. “In Shanghai in two weeks’ time let’s hope that the upward trend continues,” he said.

Current standings
After the Malaysia Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel is leading the Drivers Championship, ahead of Räikkönen, Webber and Hamilton. In the Constructors rankings, Red Bull Racing is on top, followed by Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes.

McLaren driver Sergio Perez is now the second driver to score the DHL Fastest Lap aside Kimi Räikkönen.

Get the Fastest Lap App!
DHL’s backstage pass on Facebook to all things F1 has already attracted over 425,000 fans! Join in and enjoy fascinating imagery and a look behind-the-scenes of Formula 1. This year we’ve added a Fastest Lap App for Android, giving more people than ever before the opportunity to stay in touch with the Fastest Lap and Formula 1 no matter where they are. The fully revamped app features Formula 1 news, current Fastest Lap standings, and a Formula 1 Live Ticker. Download the App at Formula 1 Backstage by DHLExternal Link / New Window

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