Perez: Force India has to be ‘perfect’ to beat McLaren
Sergio Perez believes Force India will have to execute “perfect” weekends in the final two races of the 2018 Formula 1 season if it is to overhaul McLaren.
The rebranded Force India squad currently sits seventh in the constructors’ standings and trails McLaren by 15 points after forfeiting its previous tally following its summer takeover by a Lawrence Stroll led consortium.
Force India has comprehensively outscored McLaren since the summer break, but Esteban Ocon’s disqualification for a fuel-related infringement in Austin and a brake failure for Sergio Perez while running well inside the points at his home race in Mexico have acted as recent set-backs.
“Unfortunately we lost a lot of points [in Mexico]. It was an easy P7 if not P6 so yeah that’s a big shame and a lot of points also,” Perez explained.
“There are only two races left so we will try to be perfect in these next two coming weekends.”
This year’s tight tussle between the midfield teams has led to varying approaches in recent races, where drivers have sacrificed their qualifying result by intentionally avoiding progressing to Q3, in order to have free tyre choice and therefore a stronger race-day strategy.
Perez says it has got to a stage where teams are now solely-focused on prioritising race performance over grid position with the close championship battle in mind.
“It’s so close if you out-strategy them you beat them,” he said. “It’s like Singapore, I was best of the rest in qualifying but then but then the wrong tyre for the race and that meant no points.
“It’s so close and so interesting the midfield, I wish the whole of Formula 1 was like this. Weekend by weekend it’s basically the driver having everything perfect, you can make the difference in that midfield.”
The Mexican lost ground to Nico Hulkenberg in the race to claim the ‘best of the rest’ tag between the top three teams in the drivers’ standings following his retirement in Mexico City, though he remains hopeful he can still overturn the current 12-point deficit.
“It’s been really intense actually since day one,” Perez added. “From Melbourne up till now it’s been changing and one tenth makes a huge difference on your weekends.
“It’s been very challenging and I think I should be really close to Hulkenberg by now but unfortunately when you have a race like what I have [in Mexico] and he scores so many points it makes it very hard, especially with two races to go.
“We are still in the fight, we are P8 so who knows. I think it’s really interesting. It’s been great for the last couple of years.”
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