Sergio Perez has rued his "terrible" start for his inability to challenge Lando Norris and São Paulo Grand Prix Sprint winner Max Verstappen.
The Mexican started third after a stellar Sprint Shootout performance but slipped behind both Mercedes drivers before Turn 4.
Red Bull driver Perez fought back, however, and after easily disposing of Lewis Hamilton, he made his way past George Russell after two attempts before eventually finishing nine seconds behind second-placed Norris.
"It was not an easy one," said Perez, reviewing his Sprint.
"I had a terrible start and ended up losing a place to George and then another place to Lewis into Turn 4.
"From then on I was fighting and had to use all of my tyres, then I think I paid the price towards the end.
"Overall, it's been a good day, good points there but without the start, we could have been further up."
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Perez aims to consolidate strong weekend
Perez's result paired with Hamilton's late-race slide down the order provided a five-point swing towards the Red Bull driver in the race for second in the Drivers' standings.
"Obviously it is important but it is more important to keep that momentum going now," insisted Perez.
"We have had a very good day overall, so hopefully in the main race, we can consolidate a strong result."