Sergio Perez has been in fine form since returning from the summer break, helping Force India fight it out at the front of the midfield battle, but he was expecting his rivals to hit back in Singapore. They challenged the Mexican in qualifying on Saturday, but to his ‘surprise’, he came out on top at Marina Bay…
The Silverstone squad have brought a major update for this Grand Prix, including revisions to their front wing plus further aerodynamic changes. But speaking ahead of this weekend, Perez was not predicting major gains, admitting that ‘Singapore is not the greatest track for us’.
So, it was understandable that Perez was delighted in the paddock post-qualifying. The Force India star had just produced a superb performance to put his car seventh on the grid, once again winning the best of the rest tussle, with Haas’ Romain Grosjean his nearest challenger.
“It was quite a surprise,” said Perez. “As you know, we were not expecting this amount of pace. We brought an upgrade but to put four-tenths on the Haas and the Renault - four- and six-tenths is definitely a great lap.
“It just all came together, it was a very strong lap. To get such a perfect lap around here is never easy. You put a lot of stress on the tyres. The team did a fantastic job today.
"The past two races we have been best of the rest with both cars. We have a very long race ahead, a lot of things can happen here. I will be very pleased if we can score points with both cars. Definitely the performance we have shown today is very impressive.
“To get a performance out of today was something very strong and very special.”
Perhaps even more special, given the tough summer the team endured when they were put into administration. But since a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll allowed them to have a fresh start, they’ve been able to focus on their performances on the track.