Sergio Perez says Force India has enjoyed its best start to a race weekend this year, raising his hopes that he can get amongst the likes of Ferrari, Williams and Red Bull in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Despite being consigned to the pit-lane in the closing minutes of the FP2 session due to a brake issue, Perez ended the day third quickest with pace that he felt was a genuine representation of the Force India's potential around the Yas Marina Circuit.

Indeed, the Mexican went as far as to say it was the best start to a race weekend this season, not just because it put him ahead of his main rivals, but because of the respectable 0.6secs margin to Mercedes.

"We probably had our best Friday of the year in terms of performance and that makes me feel happy. Some people can get caught with the conditions, some people get it better than others but generally in qualifying we see where we are. I'm saying that it's the best Friday not because of the position but because of the gap to Mercedes; 0.6s away I think we've never been that close to the Mercedes."

"I feel pretty confident, we are getting on top of the car, trying very different geometries race by race trying to learn more. Obviously it's not deal when you introduce a new car during the season, you start to learn a lot of things and it's normal that we keep learning.

"I think we are facing a good weekend, hopefully everything can go right, the changes that we make can take us in the right direction."