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.”