Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez head to the Bahrain Grand Prix keen to fulfil expectations after scoring fewer points at the Australian opener than they had hoped.
Blaming the mid-race red flag for scuppering its strategy, Hulkenberg and Perez crossed the line seventh and eighth respectively to get Force India's season off to a solid but low key start
Nonetheless, both drivers are more confident ahead of the second round in Bahrain given the race, one of two dusk-to-dark events on the calendar, has been kind to it in the past.
“We've started the season in the right way by getting some points on the board, even though we had the potential to come away from Australia with many more. The red flag came out at the worst possible moment for our strategy and that cost us some positions, but we still managed to fight back and come away with an important seventh place: I am happy with that.
“Next up is Bahrain, which is a special place. As a circuit, it's very different to Melbourne: it's not bumpy at all; it's very smooth and it's full of slow corners. There are a several overtaking spots and the whole track, with long straights and big braking zones, makes for some great wheel-to-wheel racing.”
A Bahrain podium winner for Force India in 2014, Perez feels the team has a good chance of a strong result once again this year with the Mercedes-powered VJM09.
“Australia didn't bring the result I was hoping for so I am targeting a better outcome from Bahrain. Getting a bad start really compromised my race last time out because I got stuck in the middle of cars on different strategies and I couldn't recover. However, it's a long season and I have an opportunity to get back in the points in Bahrain.
“I have some very good memories from Bahrain - the race in 2014 was just fantastic when I celebrated my first podium with the team. I am confident we can be strong again this year and get back all the points I missed in Australia. Even in Melbourne, there were lots of positives we can build on, such as our strong qualifying speed and race pace. The team is doing a great job back at the factory and we should have some interesting new bits on the car, too, so I am feeling confident.”
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