Sergio Pérez says that the Sahara Force India F1 Team have a “lot to improve” on if they are to take a top four finish in the Constructors’ Championship for a third successive year, despite scoring points at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Pérez took ninth place for the Silverstone based squad at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in an eventful race. The Mexican said that the first lap collision instigated by Romain Grosjean that claimed Nico Hülkenberg and Pierre Gasly forced him to take evasive action at Turn 3, losing him track position.
“It was a tough afternoon,” reflected Pérez. “But to score two points in these conditions is not a bad result and a decent reward after a difficult race.
“I made a good start but I had to go wide to avoid the accident with Grosjean and I lost a lot of positions. It really complicated everything for me because it put me behind a lot of other cars.”
However, Pérez praised his Force India team’s approach to strategy – choosing to pit during the Virtual Safety Car, brought out by team-mate Esteban Ocon‘s engine failure. Pérez hit the stray front wing endplate left by Max Verstappen following his bizarre coming together with Lance Stroll under the VSC and said that he consequently struggled with vibrations in the late stages of the race.
“We made the right strategy calls, especially pitting under VSC,” he said. “But then I hit debris from Verstappen’s car and I picked up some damage.
“I was struggling with a lot of vibrations and I was lucky to make it to the end.”
The 28-year-old said that Ocon’s retirement soured the afternoon for the team, feeling that the team’s first double points finish of a troublesome season was a possibility. And whilst Force India still have work to do on their VJM11, Pérez hopes for better at Monaco in two weeks’ time.
“It’s good to come home with some points after starting so far back, but it’s a shame about Esteban’s retirement because we could have scored points with both cars today.
“We have a lot to improve, but I hope we can be much more competitive in Monaco.”