Sergio Perez has hailed Force India's Friday running at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, stating that it was his best Friday of the season. The Mexican ended the second practice session in seventh place, 1.3 seconds down on Kimi Raikkonen who topped the timesheets.
Force India arrived in Belgium not knowing if it would be able to race. However, Lawrence Stroll, who led a consortium of investors to save the team, called an urgent meeting where it was decided that the team would race as a new entry, stripping Force India of the points it bagged in the first half of the season.
But based on its Friday's pace, the team may be set to score on Sunday: “I think it was quite strong, I'm very happy to be back,” Perez said. ”You forget, after a month, the sensation of driving. Once you go for the first time through Eau Rouge, I was so excited. It just comes to you, and I’m enjoying a lot to drive at Spa.
"I think we are quite competitive and probably had the best Friday of the season. I'm very happy and looking forward for tomorrow. We have to prepare ourselves for tomorrow to be the best of the rest - and that’s our target. The car felt very good today and I’m happy with the balance. It’s probably the best balance we have had all year. So there is the potential for a strong weekend, regardless of what the weather does.”
His teammate Esteban Ocon's fastest lap in the second session was well down on Perez's time, but the Frenchmanobtained a puncture, meaning he had to do most of the session on one set of tyres. However, he too was happy with the pace of the VJM10 and is excited for the rest of the weekend.
"It's been a good day,” Ocon said. “Overall we arrive here fresh, and also with a competitive car. Sergio was 7th in FP2, and I was 7th in FP1, so pretty solid. Of course we have to keep working because the others are. We will have to keep pushing but we have a good base.
"I enjoy driving here, especially with these cars because they’re amazingly quick. It's always great fun. The car is performing well and I felt very comfortable in the first session.
“We tried a different direction in the afternoon, which didn’t really work and I also had a puncture which meant I had to do most of the session on one set of supersoft tyres. Even so, we have made some good progress today and I think we can fight for a place in Q3 tomorrow.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing