It was a good day for the Sahara Force India F1 Team at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday as both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon made it through to the top ten shootout, qualifying eighth and ninth on the grid.
Perez, a former podium finisher in Canada back in 2012 whilst driving for the Sauber F1 Team, was pleased with his own performance, and feels confident that the top ten starting position gives him a great opportunity to score points on Sunday.
“I am pleased with our performance today,” said Perez. “The car was giving me confidence and my flying laps were clean and tidy.
“Eighth is a good position to start the race and, even though the strategy options will be quite limited on this track, I am confident we can come away with a decent result.
“It will be a close fight with the cars around us because the gaps are small, but our race pace looked good yesterday so we should be competitive.”
Team-mate Ocon, racing at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time in his career, will start just behind Perez in ninth, and admitted he enjoyed attacking the track during qualifying and getting close to the walls.
The Frenchman hopes to stay out of trouble in order to return to the points after missing out on a top ten finish for the first time this season last time out in Monaco.
“I’m pleased with today,” admitted Ocon. “The car has been strong since FP1 and we’ve done a good job in all the sessions by always moving forward and improving the car with each run.
“It’s also a new track for me so I’ve taken things step-by-step and built my confidence with the car and the track. I really enjoyed qualifying – pushing more and more through the chicanes and getting closer to the walls. It’s an old-school track and definitely a challenge for the drivers.
“To start from ninth means we are already in the points and I have a good feeling for the race. The priority is to get a clean first lap, stay out of trouble and find a rhythm to make the most of our competitive race pace.”