Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg have expressed their joy at the success of the updates Force India have applied at the Spanish Grand Prix and are optimistic for points finishes at 'our weakest track'.
Both drivers ended Friday's free practice inside the top ten – Perez ninth, Hulkenberg tenth – after running a thorough analysis on a raft of updates, including a new front wing, which have been praised for giving the VJM09 more downforce and being easier on its tyres.
“We've definitely made good progress. The car definitely feels better, and in the main areas where we needed downforce it came,” Perez said. “Obviously we always want more, but I feel we have made a reasonable step and to be inside the top 10 at this track means a lot to us. It's our weakest track.
“Our degradation has improved as well. I'm happy we've made a reasonable step, but I want to see how competitive we can be tomorrow in qualifying. Obviously we are facing a tough weekend here at this circuit, but if we can get away with some points then it means we have made a massive step forward.”
Hulkenberg has backed up his team-mate's comments by explaining the feeling improved immediately on his opening stint and now feels confident the team can take its charge back towards the front of the competitive midfield after collecting just eight points from the opening four races.
“A much better feeling. The upgrade was a good success,” Hulkenberg said. “It's definitely a good step forward. We've collected lots of data, obviously it was our first day to put some miles on it, so hopefully we can still optimise a bit more around it, but overall positive. And I don't need data. You feel it straight away, it's a good step forward.
“You know this car inside out now, so with the grip in certain areas you'd expect the rear to come again, and understeer, and this all has got better and more together.
“We have to fight for it and keep developing because the development rate and speed in Formula 1 is quite amazing, so we have to keep bringing performance otherwise you will just fall back again. We've caught up a lot, we're sniffing at the front of the midfield now, but to maintain that we have to keep digging.”