Tag Archives: Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez: “I was confident going into the race…”

Sergio Perez was one of the stars of the Russian GP after a bold strategy call by Force India helped the Mexican to an eventual third place.

Perez was the best placed of several drivers who gambled by putting under an early safety car and attempting to get to the flag while others waited and pitted under green.

He held third for many laps only to lose out to Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen on the penultimate lap after his tyres finally gave up. However the two Finns then collided, and Perez regained the final podium spot.

I was confident going into the race, obviously not expecting a podium at all, but the race started quite well,” he said. “Obviously Nico [Hulkenberg] went out quite early, the safety car came out. Then we had a second safety car and we decided to box. We were one of the few cars to box.

The restart going behind Felipe [Massa] and Nasr, I was just stuck there and couldn’t get them, so I decided to save my tyres together with the team, to look after them at the end of the race, and it worked really well.”

Perez admitted his tyres were finished in the closing laps: “I think we lost a podium one lap before the end, but it was just very difficult to hold them back, to hold Valtteri and Raikkonen back.

At the stage I couldn’t brake very hard, very late because I was at risk of flat-spotting my tyres and retiring from the race, so there was a certain level of risk that I was able to take and I thought OK, if it’s not a podium, let’s really come back with the points. And then in the last lap they had contact and it was very good to come back and give a second podium to the team.

Perez said he’s excited about the future: “I think we’re going into a great momentum. It’s great news that I’m staying with the team. so we have a lot of momentum going through us and hopefully we can maintain it for the end of the year.

Definitely I’m going through a great moment in my career. From where we are it’s difficult to realise but people who look at my performance, they can see that I’m at my best moment in my career, and that’s something that makes me confident.”

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Force India expects to confirm Perez soon

Force India expects to announce that Sergio Perez is staying for 2016 in the coming days, despite the Mexican and his sponsorship being linked to the Renault/Lotus deal.

The team has already confirmed Nico Hulkenberg for next season, but deputy team principal Bob Fernley says that the delay on Perez is simply because the deal he has to conclude with team boss Vijay Mallya is more complicated than that involving Hulkenberg.

“Vijay is finishing off the discussions with him, and I think by Singapore we should be clear to announce everything,” Fernley told this writer. “One deal is more complex, there are commercial issues involved, whereas the other is a driver contract.”

Fernley insists that driver continuity is good for the team, and says that Hulkenberg’s decision to stay was an indication of his faith in the Silverstone outfit.

“We have two drivers that get on well within the team, they’re pushing each other all the time. Both of them are excellent racers. I’m not sure that we could do better, that’s the key.

“I think that they are both very happy at Force India. Obviously Nico had a choice, and he’s made that choice, and I think it’s the same thing probably with Checo. Nico was out of contract, Checo’s is a renewal.”

Meanwhile Fernley says that the sixth and seventh place finish in Monza was the best the team could expect, given it had the fourth fastest car and there was only one retirement ahead.

“It was optimal for us, and you can’t fault optimal. It was a good race. Nico had some handling issues, he wasn’t happy with the handling of the car through all the race, so he did very well to keep Ericsson behind him for the distance, and he delivered it home. He was uncomfortable with it even when the tyres were new.”

Regarding the next race he said: “Singapore should be good, I don’t see any reason why we can’t fight for the top 10 again. What helps us now is that we’ve got a little bit of a cushion on the points, without worrying too much.”

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Sergio Perez: “I wouldn’t discount a podium…”

Sergio Perez is targeting a podium finish at Spa for Force India after landing fourth spot on the grid.

The Mexican qualified fifth, but he moves up a place as Romain Grosjean has a gearbox penalty.

“It was a great lap, putting everything together, and ending up so close to the Williams ahead,” he said. “I think we’ve done an extremely good job. From yesterday to today we did some set-up changes that definitely helped our balance.

“I think we have definitely come into a nice rhythm and I look forward for me to be here more often, because right now I think I’m dialling into the new car, and I see no reason why I can’t do this weekend after weekend.”

Regarding his hopes for the race he said: “I wouldn’t discount a podium for tomorrow, because I’m so confident with the car I can do a strong performance tomorrow. I think this is the most confident I’ve felt throughout the whole year with the car. I can really throw it everywhere and be right on the edge with it.

“Everything is possible for tomorrow. We have big hopes for tomorrow, starting P4, and we’ve got everything ahead of us.”

Perez is confident that the team can repeat the Spa form elsewhere.

“I think we have everything to look forward to. Obviously this circuit is a bit different to the rest, but I see no reason why we cannot be competitive everywhere we go.”

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Perez on 2014: A 95% chance I’ll be in F1…

Sergio Perez says his prospects for 2014 are looking up – and he says that he has a “95%” chance of having an F1 seat next year.

Like everyone else Perez has been linked with Sauber, Force India and Lotus. The Swiss team would appear to be the main candidate at the moment, with Carlos Slim discussing the possibility of Checo teaming up with Esteban Gutierrez – although the alternative scenario is that the two drivers are in effect fighting for the same backing.

“It’s definitely looking better than it was seven days ago,” said Perez this afternoon. “We have made some progress in that respect, which is positive. But as we all know in F1 if you don’t have the contract, there’s still nothing there. I’m confident that I will get a seat that will keep me very motivated to achieve my dreams in F1.

“There are some options, and one of them is going back to Sauber. But there are other options that we are looking at at the moment. Force India can be another option as well, but nothing really deep in discussions. All the teams that haven’t announced a driver, for sure we are looking to see what can be the best option for my future.”

Asked to quantify his chances of being in F1 next year, he said: “Very high, I will say 95%, but the other five is still high, and to have 5% is still a lot. I might be here, I might not, but I’m pretty confident that I will be here.”

He made no secret about the role sponsorship will play in proceedings.

“We all know, there is no secret that if you are not in the four top teams all the rest are struggling financial-wise. It obviously helps, but also my talent helps, and at the end of the day I believe I’m a very strong package, so I should be in a good position to find a good seat.

“I’m very fortunate my country is behind me, they are really supporting me to stay in F1. That definitely helps.”

Asked by this writer if he was in competition for backing with Esteban Gutierrez, he denied that was the case.

“I think we’re in a fortunate position, both of us, that we can get a good financial package. When I left Sauber he came to my seat, and it was a fortunate position for him. But everything was pretty much said and done. I don’t see him as competition to see who gets more backing. I think we’re in a fortunate position, Mexico is a strong country, and Mexico is very passionate about F1.”

Perez says the door to return to Sauber has always been open.

“I always try to leave my teams in the best possible terms, just as I’m leaving McLaren. Life is very long in F1, and you never know where you are going to end up. I just try to be a professional driver, and a good person.”

He also made an interesting comment about the role engines might play in his choice: “I think the engine is going to be important, but more is the team. How the team is doing financial wise, how much they have prepared the car for next year, there are certain aspects. They might have done a great job this year, but you never know how they’ll do next year. It’s very important that we look at all the factors together and try to decide the best possible option.”

There has also been some contact between Ganassi and the Perez camp, but the driver denies that he’s been directly involved.

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Sergio Perez: “I found out a couple of days before you found out…”

Sergio Perez insists that he only found out this week that he was on his way out of McLaren, and had firmly believed that he would be staying on with the team.

“I found out a couple of days before you found out, so it was a very late decision,” he said in Austin today. “I had no idea, it just came as a shock to me because the team was always giving me good feedback, everything was pretty much settled down and I was going to stay with the team but then something happened in the last few weeks so they decided not to… It puts me in a very difficult position now, to look forward for my future.”

Nevertheless he said he didn’t feel let down by the team, especially in terms of the awkward timing.

“No, not let down at all. As I said, it’s been a difficult year. People from the outside can think whatever they want, but inside the team, every single person that works in the team knows the amount of pressure we are having, everyone, from Jenson, myself, Martin, everyone, everyone. With McLaren and the year that we have had it was so disappointing for everyone so they have had to make some changes and yeah, they had to change me, and that’s racing.”

Regarding his future he said: “I know there are some options. As I said before, I want to stay in Formula One but I will no stay in F1 just to stay. If I don’t find the right option for myself then I have to look at something else but I’m pretty confident something good will happen and hopefully I find a good seat. I think I have a lot to offer a team.

“I have been three years in F1, one year with McLaren. A very difficult year but I think I learn a lot. I think this year, although it has been very difficult and probably one of the worst in terms of results for myself, I think I am a good driver and I can do good things out there.”

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