April 5th, 2014 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sergio Perez is optimistic about his chances of a podium in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix after performing well in today's qualifying session. Perez set the fifth fastest time in Q3, but will line up fourth as a result of a grid penalty for Daniel Ricciardo.
Perez's fourth place grid slot for tomorrow's race equals his best-ever starting position for a Grand Prix, achieved back in 2012. He stood on the podium three times in 2012, but has not managed to finish in the top three since. His strong starting position provides him with a good chance of achieving his fourth podium in Sunday's race.
Perez's said after qualifying, "It was definitely a great qualifying session and the team did a fantastic job to give me such a competitive car. After the problems we had in the first two races I feel this has been the first real opportunity to show the potential of the car. I believe we could have been even closer to the front, but I couldn't warm up my brakes enough on the out lap of my final run in Q3 and so I didn’t improve.
"We're already thinking about tomorrow and I think the clear target must be to aim for the podium. We're in the best possible position to fight at the front and I’m going to make the most of it. I've got some very good memories of this track but tomorrow I want to create even better ones."
In the other Force India, Nico Hulkenberg made an uncharacteristic error in Q2 that cost him a place in the top ten. He qualified 12th but will move forward one place on the grid due to Ricciardo's penalty.
Hulkenberg described his qualifying session: “My lap in Q2 was not the best one. I made a mistake in turn 11 and ran wide on the exit kerb, which completely ruined my lap. I lost a couple of tenths and that made the difference between making it into Q3 and missing out."
Despite his qualifying woes, Hulkenber was upbeat about his chances of a strong race result. He said, "I do believe the chance for a good result tomorrow is still there and I feel optimistic. We showed on Friday that we have good long run pace and I have two new sets of soft tyes for the race. The strategy decisions for tomorrow will be important to help me move forward and with the cooler conditions it should be easier on the tyres compared to Malaysia.”