Sergio Perez’s qualifying performance in Shanghai put a smile back on the Mexican’s face as Force India moved forward with improving its troubled VJM11.
Perez clocked in on Saturday with the eighth fastest time, a result which reflects marked progress for the Silverstone-based outfit which hasn’t been able to hold its own at the top of the mid-field since the season got underway.
Perez admitted however that it was a difficult cold and grey session as everyone struggled with low tyre temperatures.
“It was very difficult, basically what we did today compared to yesterday, it was a different world,” he explained.
“The wind has changed so much and it has such a big impact, more than the tyres I think, it was very tricky conditions, and I knew there was going to be an opportunity as getting everything right today was going to be the key.
Force India struggling to solve ‘fundamental issue’ with VJM11
Perez shared his colleagues’ concerns about tyre degradation come race day, and pretty much excluded a one-stop strategy for anyone starting in the top-ten on Pirelli’s ultrasoft compound.
“It’s not ideal, especially with the warmer conditions we might struggle a bit with the ultras,” he added.
“That could mean an opportunity for those that were not in Q3. It’s going to be a new track tomorrow, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. The ones that get it right can make a massive difference.
“I’m still very optimistic for tomorrow, I really hope that we can close up the gap and fight for the best of the rest.”
“We are feeling positive: we are getting closer and closer with every race, understanding more about our car and unlocking its performance.”
Force India’s correlation issues that technical director Andy Green has linked to a fundamental problem lingering under the skin of the team’s VJM11, have impacted the pink outfit’s performance so far.
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But Perez believes the squad is slowly but surely getting on top of its troubles.
“We’re progressively closing up the gap, and I think the other teams should worry a bit because we are definitely understanding race by race our package.
“To be only two tenths from the Renault ahead, the best of the rest, was a massive effort from the team and I really hope tomorrow we can score in a big manner.”
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