The Sahara Force India secured their eighth double-points finish of the season in Singapore with their drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, and head into the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka eager to maintain their fifth place in the constructor’s championship they reclaimed from McLaren two weeks ago.
Perez finished seventh in Singapore after a late race charge, and heads into the Japanese Grand Prix on a high. He will be hoping to score points at the circuit for the first time since 2011, but feels the track is an exciting challenge, and insists overtaking is possible after the battles he had with Lewis Hamilton in 2012 whilst driving for Sauber.
“Suzuka is such an exciting circuit,” said Perez. “It’s a classic full of great corners in every sector. It’s a track where confidence with your car is especially important because you need to find the flow of the lap, especially in the first sector from turns two to seven where you have to be totally committed. The key is to be precise, but it’s very technical and not easy to hit every apex.
“Because there are so many high-speed corners, it’s not easy to follow cars closely and overtaking is very difficult. It’s possible, though, and I remember having a good battle with Lewis [Hamilton] two years ago.
“We meet great fans during the season wherever we go, but I would rate the fans in Japan as some of the best. They have a lot of love for Formula One and they have always been very kind to me. It is always fantastic to come back to this country because they help make this race a special one.”
Team-mate Hulkenberg finished ninth in Singapore for his twelfth points finish of the season, and like Perez is looking forward to the weekend at Suzuka. He has ambitions to score more points in Japan, having done so in both 2012 and 2013.
“Suzuka is one of the best circuits of the year,” insists Hulkenberg. “I think it’s quite similar to Spa in terms of the feeling you get inside the car. It’s just a great place to experience a Formula One car and it’s a lot of fun.
“There are some big corners, especially the ‘S’ curves, which are very technical. Finding the right balance is very important for being quick in these long, sweeping corners. The last couple of years I’ve scored good points in Japan so I want to add some more this year.
“It’s also a fun weekend outside of the car: the fans really show their love for the teams and drivers, and they’re very sweet and respectful. When we travel from the hotel to the track they are always there standing on the side of the road waving at us with both hands. I’m also a big fan of Japanese food, so it’s a good chance to enjoy the local food, especially the teppanyaki.”