Baku, June 29, AZERTAC
Sergio Perez says he is still riding the positivity from his second podium of the season in Baku and sees no reason why he and Force India can't push towards the front again in Austria, according to crash.
The Mexican driver has banished memories of an underwhelming start to 2016 and three point-less races to grab five consecutive finishes in the top ten with glory of two third places from Monaco and Baku.
After being hampered with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change in Azerbaijan, Perez is looking for an issue-free race weekend at Spielberg and thanks to his recent rhythm and success in the VJM09 he's aiming for another battle at the front.
“I am still smiling about the podium we scored in Baku. It was an amazing weekend for us,” Perez said. “We got the calls right; we executed our race plan perfectly and we finished in the top three on merit.
“I feel very proud of my team and I think it was one of my most competitive races in Formula One. It wasn't a completely smooth weekend with the gearbox penalty pushing us backwards on the grid, but we were able to overcome the difficulties, which made it an even sweeter result.
“I travel to Austria on a high and determined to deliver another strong result. There are lots of elevation changes and some challenging corners: you cannot make mistakes in any of them or it will cost you a lot of time on the straights.
“It's also a short lap so the gaps between the cars are always very small and that makes for a very tight grid.”
Having enjoyed a remarkable increase in race pace and performance since a raft of updates in Spain, Perez is confident Force India will remain competitive inside the top five for both Spielberg and Silverstone where the circuits will play to the strengths of his car.
“We've made a lot of progress with the car since Barcelona and I expect us to be competitive this weekend,” he said. “There are a few decent overtaking opportunities, especially the big braking zone at turn two, so there should be some good action in the race.”
Perez has risen to eighth in the F1 world drivers' championship ahead of Williams' Felipe Massa while he continues to be linked to a move up the F1 grid for 2017 with Ferrari as potential suitors.