Sergio Perez admits Force India must be on their guard in battle for fourth
Mexican, however, fears Silverstone might prove "bad for us"
By James Galloway at Silverstone. Last Updated: 03/07/14 1:55pm
Sergio Perez gets on his bike at Silverstone
Sergio Perez has admitted Force India must continue scoring “big points” if they are to stave off improving rivals in the battle for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship - although the Mexican concedes Silverstone may not bring out the best in the VJM07.
With points finishes in every race so far in 2014, the Silverstone-based outfit have made their best ever start to a season under Vijay Mallya’s ownership and currently sit behind only Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari in the standings heading into their home race this weekend.
However, their advantage over fifth-placed Williams narrowed to a mere two points after the Grove outfit’s impressive Austrian GP, while McLaren’s recent steady gains have seen them match Force India’s points score over the last two grands prix.
Perez, who finished sixth from 15th on the grid at the Red Bull Ring, says that despite middling recent qualifying results Force India's race pace is nothing to worry about – but admits they must keep making it count on Sundays.
“In the last two races we didn’t maximise our grid position. I had some issues mechanically during qualifying,” the Mexican told reporters on Thursday.
“For some reasons we were not able to maximise the potential in qualifying and obviously we had a grid penalty in Austria.
“But I think the pace of the car is good and we showed on the last two weekends we showed that we had the pace to fight for the podium, which is really encouraging for the team – especially now that we really need big points to keep the fight up with Williams, who are doing a tremendous job, and McLaren who are also improving.
“So we have to keep working, keep maximising our weekends as a team to keep the fight up.”
Although Perez has only once started in the top ten in the last five races, the Mexican has run as high as second and first in the last two grands prix respectively thanks to long-running opening stints and strong tyre management.
The 24-year-old made similarly bold strategies his trademark while at Sauber, but asked if he saw recent races as a trend, Perez insisted: “No, I don’t see it as a trend.
“To do that kind of strategy first of all you need pace – and the pace is there which is the most important [thing].
“So I think we can even fight for that position with a similar strategy to everyone else because we have the pace. We have the tyre advantage, we understand very well the tyres, and I feel very comfortable with the team and the car. I see no reason why I cannot keep delivering [weekend] after weekend.”
While Perez is expecting the aerodynamic upgrades the team introduced in Austria to show a “bit more here”, the former McLaren driver fears the VJM07’s pace over the last two races won’t be replicated to the same extent around the fast-flowing Silverstone circuit.
“I think it’s going to be bad for us, but I will say to how bad it is relative to the competition tomorrow and obviously on Saturday,” Perez added.
“But I don’t expect great things here as we had probably in the past two races. But I see no reason why we shouldn’t be in the points.”
Watch the 2014 British GP live on Sky Sports F1. Extensive coverage of the Silverstone race weekend begins with Friday Practice from 9.45am on July 4.