Sergio Perez: “The gap to the front of the grid is smaller”

by Megan Cantle
Perez during Winter Testing

Sahara Force India F1 Team‘s Sergio Perez will be arriving in Melbourne this weekend filled with hope for the season to come.

The 2018 Formula One season kicks off this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix, and Perez feels ready to get back into racing after the long winter break. He took seventh in the Driver’s Championship last year, earning him best of the rest spot and beating team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Perez thinks that there are currently unanswered questions that came out of winter testing, especially concerning the performance of the midfield teams. Last year, Force India took fourth place in the Constructor’s Championship, but the likes of Renault Sport Formula One Team and Haas F1 Team looked quick and consistent throughout the two weeks of testing earlier this month.

“You always arrive in Melbourne full of hope,” commented Perez.  “There are lots of unanswered questions and it’s when you really start to understand your competitiveness.

“At the same time, it’s not a typical race because it’s usually quite unpredictable. Often, just finishing the race is the key to getting a good result.

“I feel in good shape and ready for the season to start. I want this to be my best year in Formula One and I want to be back on the podium.

“During testing, we saw that all the midfield teams are quite close together in terms of performance. I also think the gap to the front of the grid is smaller. Let’s see what happens.”

The season-opening round is challenging, according to Perez. The street circuit layout makes it difficult to put a great lap together due to its stop-start nature.

The Albert Park circuit is always difficult,” he continued. “It’s not easy to find your flow because it’s quite stop and start. You need to be strong on the brakes and have good traction.

“I would say my favourite part of the lap is turn one; it’s challenging and bumpy, and it’s not easy to see the apex when you’re turning in. It becomes even more difficult late in the day when the sun is low in the sky and in your eyes.”

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