Sergio Perez could be a dark horse in Bahrain on Sunday, and he might be the man ready to take advantage should Mercedes hit any problems.
The Mexican qualified fifth, and gained a place from the Ricciardo penalty. While Valtteri Bottas is ahead on the grid, Force India looked particularly strong over race runs. In Malaysia Nico Hulkenberg was able to finish fifth having made only two stops, proving that the car is good on tyres.
“I don’t think we can beat them by any strategy or anything,” he said of Mercedes when asked by this writer. “So the only chance is that they have a problem, and then we can dream with a victory. Our target is to get a podium, and be in a good position.
“I want to get a clean start and hopefully get Bottas off the line, and then just manage our race, our degradation, and do whatever we have to do for the race.
“It’s close between a two-stop and a three-stop, and it will be a race where it will be interesting to see how much degradation is a factor, and how well we can manage it.”
Peerz says the key so far this weekend has been avoiding trouble: “We got a rhythm on Friday. It’s the first weekend when we could really do good work without any problems. I’m confident for the race, and I think we can have a good one.”