Sergio Pérez felt positive after Friday practice at Spa-Francorchamps after finishing both Free Practice sessions at the Belgian circuit inside the top ten.
The Racing Point Force India F1 Team driver returned to the track for the first time after the end of the summer break and finished ninth fastest in the morning session before improving that to seventh in the afternoon, 1.307 seconds off the pace of Kimi Räikkönen, who led the way for Scuderia Ferrari.
Pérez says he always loves driving the Spa circuit but to come to the track with an extremely well-balanced car means there is potential for a good weekend as the Mexican bids to give the recently relaunched outfit their first points in the championship in their very first race weekend in Formula 1.
“I love this track and I’ve really enjoyed getting back in the car today,” said Pérez, who’s own points in the Drivers’ Championship were not annulled. “When you spend a few weeks off, there is nowhere better than Spa to return to action.
“The car felt very good today and I’m happy with the balance. It’s probably the best balance we have had all year. So there is the potential for a strong weekend, regardless of what the weather does.”
Team-mate Esteban Ocon, who’s drive with the team appears to be under threat following the takeover from the Lawrence Stroll-led consortium, finished seventh himself in the opening session to confirm that the team has a good car this weekend, although he slipped to thirteenth in the afternoon after going the wrong way on set-up and suffering a puncture.
“It’s great to be racing again,” said Ocon. “The car is performing well and I felt very comfortable in the first session.
“We tried a different direction in the afternoon, which didn’t really work and I also had a puncture which meant I had to do most of the session on one set of supersoft tyres.
“Even so, we have made some good progress today and I think we can fight for a place in Q3 tomorrow.”