Sahara Force India’s podium finish at the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix still brings a smile to the face of Sergio Perez.
Going wheel to wheel with Jenson Button the year before is also a career highlight to the Mexican.
“Bahrain is always a track I enjoy and I think racing at night has made the event more exciting,” he said. “I still smile when I remember our podium finish in 2014 – it’s one of my best memories in Formula One.
“My big battle with Jenson [Button] in 2013 is also something I remember.”
He’s also very positive about the start that Force India have managed to make, though he still considers China to be a missed opportunity. He must remember that a double points finish is an impressive result considering Friday practice was a wash out.
“I feel pretty happy about the way we have started the year,” he continued. “Eight points from two races is a good achievement and shows that we are working well as a team.
“I still think a better result was possible in China, but we can’t complain about where we ended up because it wasn’t an easy race considering how cold and wet it was on Sunday.”
The team are set to introduce a series of new parts and upgrades for the weekend. The additions in China proved beneficial and Perez is hoping the next few will be as fast acting.
“With the 2017 regulations the learning curve is very steep,” he said. “The team is working really hard with the development of the car and we made some progress in China.
“There are more developments coming this weekend and hopefully we will feel the benefit straight away. It puts extra emphasis on the Friday sessions as we try and understand all the test items and how to get the best performance from them.”
Esteban Ocon is also looking forward to the night race where he has previously enjoyed great success at in the past during his time in the GP3 Series.
“Bahrain is a fantastic track and I’m really looking forward to the first night race of the season,” Ocon said. “It’s a track I enjoy and I have a good history there – I was on pole position in GP3 in 2015 so I hope to have another strong performance.”
The hot and dry conditions in Bahrain prove testing for the cars but also to the driver who must endure its 57 laps. They must work hard on staying hydrated to ensure their concentration isn’t effected.
“Sakhir is a hard circuit for tyres, brakes and engines, with big braking zones and long straights,” he continued. “It’s also testing for the driver because you have to keep hydrated as the weather can get really warm.”
It also comes only a week after the last grand prix in China, though Ocon doesn’t consider that to be a disadvantage as he is eager for more point scoring success.
“I’m quite pleased that we have races on consecutive weekends,” he added. “Every time I get in the car, I feel more comfortable with the team and this reflects in the work we produce.
“At this stage of the season, it’s important to score points whenever there is an opportunity and this remains the goal in Bahrain.”