After securing tenth place and the final points-paying position in Australia two weeks ago, Sergio Perez arrives in Malaysia ready to get back out on track and learn more about his Sahara Force India VJM08.
Perez’s race at Albert Park was far from straightforward, with a trip through the gravel of his own doing, a spin while attempting to pass Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda, and a pass on Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber while behind the safety car, but the Mexican is putting all that behind him for this weekend’s race at Sepang.
“I am looking forward to going racing again after our first run in Melbourne,” insisted Perez. “We are still learning a lot about the full potential of the VJM08 and every time we hit the track we are going to find some improvements.
“We are aware of the work needed to make our car more competitive, but we also know it is going to take time. The car feels really promising but it needs development and I look forward to getting some upgrades soon.”
Perez knows the physicality of the Malaysian circuit, and realises the importance of being properly prepared for the possible change of changeable conditions at any time. He admits that in races like this with the humidity as it is, he benefits more from all the off-season training he carries out.
“The track is really interesting and the three sectors each have their own character,” insisted Perez. “The track is physical but it has some very technical parts as well. You also have some very long straights at the end of the lap that offer a lot of opportunities for overtaking.
“The weather always makes it interesting. When you are racing in Sepang it is something that is always in the back of your mind, because you know a sudden rainstorm can throw up some unexpected strategies and opportunities you can exploit.
“The heat and the humidity are a big challenge, but as a driver you are prepared for this. You work really hard during the pre-season and every day with your trainer to be at your best in these circumstances, so I know I am ready.”
Perez remembers fondly the Sepang circuit, having come so close to a maiden first win back in 2012, only to be denied by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso when driving for the Sauber F1 Team.
“Malaysia is a very special place for me,” said Perez. “It is where I got my first podium in Formula One, in one of the best races of my career in 2012, so I will always have happy memories about this circuit.”