Sergio Perez says Force India’s performance in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Saturday a “massive” boost for the Silverstone-based outfit.
The pink team was back to its top ten ways in Baku with both drivers gaining access to Q3 which Esteban Ocon concluded in seventh place, one spot ahead of his team mate.
After a low-key start to its campaign, with aerodynamic issues impacting its 2018 car, Force India put in the necessary analysis, time and work to improve its VJM11, leaving its drivers with a faster a better balanced car.
Vettel takes pole in Baku ahead of Hamilton and Bottas
“As a team result, it’s a massive boost for us, we were clearly the fastest mid-field team today,” said Perez on his team’s Saturday run.
“I’m a bit disappointed, the margin was so close, not only to my team mate but to Raikkonen. I didn’t get a clear lap until Q3, with the windy conditions we had today, so many yellow flags were out.
“It wasn’t the ideal preparation for Q3 but I’m very happy we made it.”
Ocon and Perez’s position on tomorrow’s grid inevitably brings back memories – painful for Force India – of the two drivers’ battle last year in Baku.
Perez insists however that a year on from the pair’s on-track clash, lessons have been learned.
“We know that tomorrow is a massive opportunity for us to be able to score a good amount of points for the team.”
Perez’ team mate and Force India’s resident pink panther echoed the Mexican’s optimism regarding the speed and efficiency of their VJM11 since yesterday.
“It’s been very strong this weekend, it was solid overall,” said Ocon.
“This weekend we’ve brought good progress to the car, it was very enjoyable to drive.
“We are where we deserve to be today. The team is working very very hard, and it’s along season so I hope we can keep that position,” he added.
“We have the pace overall on the long runs, but there will be a lot of opportunities to gain, or to lose, so you have to be careful with what you do in the race.”
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