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Sergio Perez

Perez celebrates 'hard but fair' fight with Hamilton en route to podium

Sergio Perez says he had another unlucky race in Australia, despite claiming a podium, with a badly-timed Safety Car leaving him with plenty to do in his fight against the Mercedes cars.

Perez Hamilton Australia
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Sergio Perez enjoyed his race-long battle with Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix, branding the Mercedes driver's race craft as "hard but fair".

The two racers swapped positions twice on track at Albert Park, with Hamilton passing Perez at the start before the Mexican fought back.

And the Mercedes cars - George Russell leading Hamilton - ended the race in hot pursuit, as Perez finished second, behind race-winner Charles Leclerc.

"Always with Lewis it is very entertaining. He's a very, very hard racer, but very fair. Yeah, we always have fun together," said Perez.

Perez hit by another "unlucky" day

After being punished by a badly-timed Safety Car in Saudi Arabia, Perez once again found himself put back in the order as others benefitted from free pit-stops.

His teammate, Max Verstappen, was also hit by misfortune in Melbourne and was forced to retire from the race late on with a suspected fuel problem.

"That was very tricky, getting my position," Perez continued, reflecting on his race.

"Lewis overtook me down the inside. He broke really late and had a really good Turn 1 and, yeah, it was about getting him, but then [came] the Virtual Safety Car and so on.

"My first stint was very poor. In terms of degradation, we struggled quite a lot. With the Safety Car, we were a bit unlucky and we lost two positions, which we recovered later.

"It's a good result but, unfortunately, we lost Max. It would have been great to have a double podium for the team. You know, we've been a bit too unlucky in the first two races."

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