Sergio Perez said on Thursday that his Sauber team overachieved when he stormed to second in the Malaysian Grand Prix, as he attempted to cool the "crazy" reaction of his growing legion of fans.
The 22-year-old Mexican, who has been linked with a high-profile move to Ferrari next season, admitted that he surpassed all expectations in finishing behind Fernando Alonso in rainy Sepang last month.
"I think we are really realistic as a team. We know that the Malaysian race was not a normal race, the conditions were extremely difficult for everybody," he said in Shanghai, ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.
"We got them right, we stopped at the right time more or less and we were able to fight for victory, but I think in normal conditions this is not where we belong, we have to be very realistic and our target is still to score as many points as possible.
"If we can score another podium during the year it will be great, but we are very realistic that it can really only happen in different conditions."
Perez said his return to Mexico had been an experience in itself.
"The people there were going crazy. It was a great result for my country," he said.
"It was 40 years since the last podium we had in Formula One, so it was really nice to feel all the support I'm getting from the fans, from the country."