Sergio Perez charges from mid-pack to hit the points

Leave a comment

Sergio Perez made a successful rally Sunday in the Chinese Grand Prix, finishing ninth to ensure another double-points finish for Sahara Force India.

The Mexican driver was coming off a podium finish at Bahrain and had hoped to keep up the momentum in Shanghai. But he admitted to having struggles with car balance and a dismal qualifying left him starting 16th on the grid.

However, both Perez and teammate Nico Hulkenberg (who finished sixth) managed to pull off a two-stop strategy despite the widespread issue of graining on the Pirelli tires.

“To start from P16 and finish in ninth place is a good recovery after a difficult qualifying session [Saturday],” Perez said. “I made a good start and after that I just focused on making the two-stop strategy work. I think everybody suffered with tire graining and I picked up a few flat spots, but we still made it work.

“It was not easy to overtake today, even the cars on a different strategy, so I think ninth place was the maximum.”

But despite the double points run for Force India, the Silverstone group still dropped to third in the team standings behind all-conquering Mercedes and new second-place squad Red Bull.

According to Perez, it’s a sign that his team needs to push further to cement itself as “best of the rest” behind Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and the “Silver Arrows.”

“…I was hoping for more today after the weekend we had in Bahrain,” Perez said. “It’s also clear that all the teams around us are finding pace so we have to keep working hard to be ready for Barcelona.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”