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F1: Perez determined to grasp Spa, Monza podium opportunity

After some near misses, Sergio Perez reckons that Force India's best chance of returning to the podium will come at the Belgian and Italian grands prix.

Sergio Perez believes his best chance of returning to the F1 podium will come in the two remaining European rounds, but admits that Force India has to take the opportunities that come its way.

The Mexican broke into the top three back in Bahrain, but has endured mixed fortunes since then, admitting that he and the team have let potential podium returns slip through their fingers in the seven races since. Now, with the tracks at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza expected to favour the superior horsepower of the Mercedes-engined cars, Perez insists that they have to take the chance to compete with Red Bull and Williams in pursuit of the dominant works Mercedes team.

“The goal is to maximise every single opportunity,” he emphasised, “I think, in the first part of the season, we missed some big opportunities, whether by luck or reliability issues, so, in this second half, I want to maximise everything to score as many points as possible. That's the target. I think the next two races should be good for us in terms of the engine. We should have a bit of an advantage, so I hope we can make the most of this.

“I think, if we are going to do any podiums, it needs to be in these two races, so we need to give everything. Let's see if we can reach it again. [Team boss] Vijay [Mallya] is right…. I had the opportunity to win the race in Canada and the opportunity to fight for the podium in Austria and I think we should put that pressure into the team because we can do it - we have done it - and hopefully we can do it once again.”

Asked whether he sees Force India being able to maintain its top five position in the constructors' table over the remaining eight rounds, Perez said the goal had to be to remain ahead of McLaren, despite a single point separating the two squads heading to Belgium this weekend.

“I think the [pecking order] will stay more or less the same,” he claimed, “I don't see it changing much, although I think Williams can get Ferrari [in the battle for third place] if they keep the momentum and keep being strong.

“I hope we stay in front of McLaren and why not? We can move forward. We know how the second half can change things, so we must stay ahead of them. In the last couple of races we have been really unlucky – obviously, in the last race, I made a mistake which cost us some points but, otherwise, it has been other factors and there is no reason why we can't stay ahead of them.”

The annual visit to Spa necessarily brings about questions regarding the challenge of Eau Rouge, but Perez believes that the infamous section will be a bigger task for the drivers under F1's new regulations. Unable to accurately simulate the compression and rise that takes the Belgian circuit away from the paddock and out into the forest, Perez reckons Eau Rouge will open some eyes this year.

“I think it will definitely be a corner now,” he said, “In every single series I have done, it was never really a corner but I think now, in F1, it will be, especially as we will arrive around 10km/h quicker than last year with the ERS and turbos. It will definitely be a corner!”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
06.04.2014- Podium, winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05, 2nd Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and 3rd Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM07
06.04.2014- Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM07 is celebrating his 3rd place in parc fermee
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07. 19.07.2014. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, Germany, Qualifying Day.
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07. 19.07.2014. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, Germany, Qualifying Day.
2014 FIA European F3 champion Esteban Ocon is to test with Lotus F1
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12.10.2014- Race, the start
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12.10.2014- Vitaly Mutko (RUS) Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation
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12.10.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 celebrates Manufactor title of Mercedes with the team
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August 21, 2014 2:36 PM

Taz: If the Merc and Willliams cars break down then perhaps.
I honestly believe Mercedes breaking down at Monza is rather likely. Very possible in Spa too. FI should be good at Monza like Williams likely will be. Force India will be happy knowing both Perez and Hulkenberg are good at Monza and Hulk is good at Spa too. Could see a renaissance from these guys at the next 2 races imo.


August 21, 2014 2:35 PM

They haven't been that far off Williams on race pace though. Canada is perhaps the most comparable track, and I don't think anyone can claim he wasn't close to the Williams then...

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