Sergio Perez carried the torch for Force India at Monza two weeks ago. The Mexican driver now heads to Singapore primed to continue his personal run of success at the street circuit under the lights.
Perez has finished in the points in each of his three prior starts at Singapore, the only circuit where he’s been able to pull that mark off. He was 10th in both 2011 and 2012 driving for Sauber, and eighth for McLaren one year ago.
Although the fast-flowing, high-speed Monza circuit and tight, twisty, 90-degree corner-heavy Singapore circuit couldn’t be further apart in terms of construction, the Force India-Mercedes package is still poised to do well at both.
Perez forecasted the weekend: “I enjoy the track and I’ve always scored points in Singapore so I will try to keep up my record. I think we can be quick. There are a lot of slow corners and that usually works well for our car. I’ve always liked street circuits so it’s up there as one of my favorites. It’s a very demanding race and usually quite unpredictable. You have to use the kerbs and attack the corners, which suits my driving style.”
He also was thankful for a clean battle with fellow Mercedes-powered runner Jenson Button, whom he beat to eighth in Monza.
“The result in Monza was an important boost for everyone in the team,” Perez said. “It shows that we will continue to fight hard for every point until the end of the season. The battle with Jenson was very clean. Neither of us wanted to give up and it got very close at times, but I knew it was crucial to stay ahead.”
Team principal Vijay Mallya said the warmer temperatures and softer tire compounds should work to the team’s benefit. Perez and Nico Hulkenberg currently have Force India sixth in the Constructor’s Championship, just one point behind McLaren.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.