The Sahara Force India team head into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix having taken six points home with them from the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last time out after Sergio Perez showed good fight in a battle with the McLaren of Jenson Button that saw they Mexican driver hold off the challenge of the formula World Champion until the chequered flag.
Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg just missed out on points, with his straight-line speed affected by damage to the floor of his car, but both drivers are feeling positive as the fly-away races that end the season begin around the Marina Bay street circuit.
Perez believes the result in Italy two weeks ago was a good boost for the whole team. He has always finished in the points in Singapore, and the young Mexican wants to continue that run in 2014 on a circuit he believes suits his aggressive driving style.
“The result in Monza was an important boost for everyone in the team,” insisted Perez. “It shows that we will continue to fight hard for every point until the end of the season. The battle with Jenson [Button] was very clean. Neither of us wanted to give up and it got very close at times, but I knew it was crucial to stay ahead.
“I think we can be quick [here in Singapore]. There are a lot of slow corners and that usually works well for our car. I enjoy the track and I’ve always scored points in Singapore so I will try to keep up my record.
“I’ve always liked street circuits so it’s up there as one of my favourites. It’s a very demanding race and usually quite unpredictable. You have to use the kerbs and attack the corners, which suits my driving style.”
Team-mate Hulkenberg missed out on points in Monza after taking damage early in the race that affected the balance of the car, with the damage only being found once the race was over. He is confident of a return to the points in Singapore, even though he knows the race will be the most demanding race of the season for the drivers.
“It feels like the season has gone by very quickly,” reflected Hulkenberg. “When you start the fly-away races you know the end of the season is getting close. The last race in Italy was disappointing for me. After the race the team found some damage to the floor, which is why we had the balance problems. It made the car difficult to drive. I’m confident things will be better in Singapore and I will be fighting hard to get a good result.
“It’s definitely a tough race [in Singapore]. It’s hot and humid, and the race usually runs close to two hours, so physically it’s probably the most difficult race of the year. It’s mentally tough, too, because street circuits are more unforgiving. The walls are close and you have to get close to them if you want to be quick. The other challenge is to get your sleep pattern sorted at the start of the week.
“As a race it’s an amazing event. The atmosphere is always very special and it looks spectacular on television. The first sector is my favourite part of the lap. It’s quick with a good overtaking opportunity going into turn seven. It’s usually where a lot of the action takes place in the race. It’s also a very long lap with some tricky bumps and kerbs, but mostly you need a car that is good in the low and medium speed corners.”