The Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago saw one of the most competitive showings of the season for the Sahara Force India team, and heading into the Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Mexican driver Sergio Perez is hoping for another strong performance from the team.
Perez finished fifth at Spa-Francorchamps, and even challenged for the lead on the opening lap before dropping back, and insists a podium finish cannot be far away for the Silverstone-based team.
“The race in Belgium was good fun: it’s always nice to battle at the front and, even though we didn’t manage to get onto the podium, it was good to come away with our best result of the season so far,” said Perez.
“Our performance is improving and we are taking the opportunities when they arise. We have seen that we can now fight with nearly everyone and it’s important we keep aiming for the podium.”
Perez feels the updated car – first seen at Silverstone – is getting better, and hopes to have another strong and competitive performance at Monza as he did at Spa-Francorchamps.
“Monza is a true power track and so we go there confident of being competitive,” said Perez. “It’s never easy to overtake and the strategy options are quite limited, and so getting the job done in qualifying is especially important. In the race it’s a case of being flat out all the way and being accurate with your braking points.
“My feeling with the updated car is very good now. Spa was the most comfortable I’ve been this season and it showed in the results. We need to go to Monza and deliver a similar performance.”
Perez has fond memories of Monza, having finished in the runners-up spot back in 2012 while driving for the Sauber F1 Team, and feels the circuit is one of the prettiest on the calendar.
“Monza is a place with lots of memories for me,” continued the Mexican. “I had one of my best races in Formula One there in 2012, finishing second after a clever race managing tyres.
“The circuit is probably one of the most beautiful in the calendar: there’s history wherever you look and you can feel it’s a unique place from the very moment you arrive at the track.
“The Italian fans are amazing – they remind me of Mexicans, in a way, and it’s a good warm-up ahead of the race in Mexico City!”