SILVERSTONE, 3rd July 2014 (F1 Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were today confident of a good showing in this weekend’s British Grand Prix, but were also sceptical that they’ll be able to repeat the competitive form on show in the last two rounds in Canada and Austria.
In the Canadian race two rounds ago Perez ran in second place for a lot of the way and Hulkenberg finished fifth, while in Austria Perez finished sixth and circulated among the leaders for a while, despite starting with a five-place grid penalty.
‘I think the pace is good of the car. We’ve shown in the last two weekends that we had the pace to fight for a podium’ said Perez in Silverstone, ‘which is really encouraging for the team, especially now that we really need big points to keep the fight up with Williams, who is doing a tremendous job, and McLaren who is improving’.
But while the Canadian and Austrian track layouts are made up largely of long straights and tight turns, Silverstone by contrast is dominated by long fast corners. And both Force India pilots believe this will not suit their car.
‘I think it’s going to be bad for us’ said Perez, ‘but I will say to you relative to the competition how bad it is tomorrow and Saturday, but I don’t expect great things like we had in the last two races.’
His stablemate Hulkenberg concurred: ‘I don’t think it (the Silverstone track’s characteristics) will benefit us’.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom however for the two pilots as Perez added: ‘I see no reason why we shouldn’t be in the points.’
And on the upgrades to the VJM07 that debuted last time out at the Red Bull Ring the Mexican reckoned that their benefit will become more obvious at Silverstone than was the case in Austria, given the former’s characteristics: ‘I think we will feel it (the benefits of the Austria upgrade) more here. Austria, with its altitude as well, makes it trickier to feel the car. It’s a very complex place as well, very small’.
Perez also didn’t think the team would necessarily have to rely on Force India’s famous gentle touch on the tyres this weekend either in order to get a good result. ‘To do that kind of strategy (with fewer stops) first of all you need pace and the pace is there which is most important’ said Perez.
‘I think (this weekend) we can fight for position even with a similar strategy to everyone else because we have the pace, we have a tyre advantage, I feel very comfortable with the team and with the car. I see no reason why we can’t keep delivering weekend after weekend’.
Hulkenberg too believes that race-on-race competitive consistency is a key strength that Force India has over some of its direct rivals such as Williams: ‘I think it’s a strength; it’s a positive’ he said upon being asked about it.
‘Yes Williams obviously was really quick and successful in Austria but it’s a different weekend now again. I think for us it’s just important that we focus on ourselves, extract the maximum potential from the car and then keep the development going…We’re in a good position and we have a great opportunity on our hands now that we need to capitalise on’