Force India hopes to be more of a force this weekend in Bahrain


Sahara Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg look to recapture results close to what they achieved a couple years ago for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The two teammates had their best Bahrain finishes there in 2014. Perez finished third, while Hulkenberg wound up two spots behind in fifth. It was Perez’s first podium with Force India and snapped a five-year podium drought for the team dating to the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix, when Giancarlo Fisichella finished second.

“I have some very good memories from Bahrain,” Perez said in the team’s advance release. “The race in 2014 was just fantastic when I celebrated my first podium with the team.”

Perez would like another podium at Bahrain, where he’s finished 11th, sixth, third and eighth in his four career starts there.

With his first time there in 2010, Hulkenberg has made five starts in Bahrain: 14th, 12th, 12th, fifth and 13th.

“Bahrain is a special place,” Hulkenberg said. “As a circuit, it’s very different to Melbourne: it’s not bumpy at all; it’s very smooth and it’s full of slow corners.

“There are a several overtaking spots and the whole track, with long straights and big braking zones, makes for some great wheel-to-wheel racing. It’s a track that rewards attacking, so hopefully we will see lots of action in the race.”

In this year’s season opening race at Melbourne, Hulkenberg finished seventh, while Perez was 13th.

“We’ve started the season in the right way by getting some points on the board, even though we had the potential to come away from Australia with many more,” Hulkenberg said.

“The red flag came out at the worst possible moment for our strategy and that cost us some positions, but we still managed to fight back and come away with an important seventh place: I am happy with that.”

Perez wasn’t as happy with his own outing at Melbourne.

“Australia didn’t bring the result I was hoping, for so I am targeting a better outcome from Bahrain,” Perez said. “Getting a bad start really compromised my race last time out because I got stuck in the middle of cars on different strategies and I couldn’t recover.”

Perez added, “I am confident we can be strong again this year and get back all the points I missed in Australia. There were lots of positives we can build on, such as our strong qualifying speed and race pace.”

Team Principal Vijay Mallya is optimistic of an even better showing for both drivers.

“On paper Bahrain should be a strong track for us so I’m optimistic we can deliver a similar level of performance to that which we showed in Melbourne,” he said. “We will have some new aerodynamic developments, which will add some performance to the front of the car, so we will work hard to optimize those during the weekend.”

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