Sergio Perez has credited Esteban Ocon for winning the qualifying battle in 2018 F1 season, but the Mexican is sure that he was stronger in the races.

For the second year in a row, Perez managed to beat his highly rated Racing Point (Force India) teammate and Mercedes junior Ocon in the drivers’ standings with the Mexican finishing the 2018 season in eighth while the Frenchman was 12th.

Last year, it was closer in terms of positions with Perez ending up seventh and Ocon eighth. Remarkably though, the points gap between the two drivers stayed the same – both in the 2017 and also in the 2018 season.

In 2017, the Mexican scored 100 points with the Frenchman scoring 87 – the gap standing at 13 points. This year, Perez scored 62 while Ocon had 49 to his name with the same difference of 13 points despite the Mexican having a podium to his name.

When asked by as to how Perez assessed the fight this year especially in qualifying – where he lost to Ocon in 7:14 ratio where the latter qualified 14 times ahead of the former for the races – Perez conceded the loss but felt his races were stronger.

“I think it reflects a bit as you said, in qualifying he probably had the upperhand,” he said. “I mean although gap between us in qualifying is less than a tenth, he was more often in front in qualifying than myself.

“But I think that the gap in the races was bigger than the qualifying. In the races, where I did the bigger difference, always the pace was looking a bit stronger in race pace, so I think was very close again.

“He was slightly better in the qualifying and I was a bit better in the races.” Looking on the performance overall, Perez was happy with how his year went, to be finishing only seven points behind Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg in the best of the rest battle.

The Mexican was particularly happy with the results considering the troubles the team had to endure not just mid-way in the season but from the start of it as they couldn’t get the car they wanted to in Australia.

“Its been a good year when you consider everything has happen,” he said to the media. “It has been a very intense season mentally with everything that I had to go through with the administration process of the team, negotiations and so on.

“I ended up in the position that a racing driver never wants to be, so considering that, the mental stress and all that I had throughout the season, I think its been a fantastic outcome, a great outcome for the team.

“[There were] good results for me and without the retirement in Mexico, I think I should have be just two-three points away from Hulkenberg to be the best of the rest. All in all, its been all right – the only midfield car to score a podium as well, so its been an OK year.

“The administration process was a very difficult you can realize when the news came out but there has been a lot of preparation going on to very complicated parts where at the same time I had to drive the car.

“I tried to perform at the very best and it was never easy to do that but I think as a team we went a very difficult period, very difficult month but I am happy with the outcome to look back now and reflect on we have done I think its not too bad.”