Q: Checo, the first half of the season is over and Force India have done an amazing job to be fifth in the standings considering the doubts pre-season. Can you talk us through how you have viewed this rise?
Sergio Perez: Yes, it is amazing isn't it? It was a fantastic effort by the whole team to get to Melbourne against all the doubts – and now being a good fifth in the pecking order. The simulations that we did at the start of the season didn't suggest that we will make it into the points, but against the odds we did! It has been a very successful ride for us so far.
Q: Even with some stunning early performances, the team always said 'wait until we bring the B-spec car - then you will see our true colours'. The B-spec car came out at Silverstone - so how are the colours?
SP: The B-spec is a massive improvement – it is a much more competitive machine. There is more harmony in the car. Right now I am not fully happy with the balance – but we have understood the issues and I hope that this weekend will be much better. The shunt was an unfortunate situation that has nothing to do with the real competitiveness of the car because until that moment it was running really smoothly.
Q: Can you explain the differences between the pre- and post-Silverstone car?
SP: The car has improved everywhere. It is more of a unit now – but we have no doubts that even now we can find things that we can do better in the second half of the season, to get even better results. And if we manage to get more downforce at the rear it will even look brighter!
Q: Lotus is dreaming of 'stealing' back P5. Will you be able to defend?
SP: Yep, I think so. If we were able to beat them with a worse car than it should not be that big an issue now with our improved car. Our development is on a good way.
Q: Nico (Hulkenberg) has been a bit more fortunate than you so far, looking at the standings. Can you explain the nine-point difference? Where have you lost it?
SP: I have to confess that so far I haven't really had a straightforward weekend. For us to get properly into the points you need to have perfect weekends – and Nico got the better end of that so far. I am really looking forward to that! (laughs)
Q: What would a perfect 'Checo-style' weekend look like? This weekend seems to have already been disqualified...
SP: Ha, yes, that's true. The right-rear suspension broke – and that was the end to a perfect weekend here. The car was pretty damaged but the good news is that we have 90 percent parts for the B-spec – and the rest we will have to improvise from the old car. It was a moment of shock but it looked much more spectacular than it really was. For safety reasons we decided to keep both cars in the pits in the afternoon – of course not an ideal situation – but my guess is that it also will not harm us a lot. Coming back to that elusive perfect weekend: first and foremost it is the result on Sunday that really matters. If you have a bit of a terrible weekend up to Sunday – just like I had today - but than have a great result – can it get any better! Because many times if things go wrong on Friday or Saturday it sets you back – it is a step backward. When it is a close matter of making it into the points or not, any distraction very often has an influence. So the dream I am still chasing would be: having super long runs on Friday, a Q3 qualifying on Saturday and good points on Sunday. Nothing beats a straightforward build-up for the race! But also nothing beats a recovery against the odds!
Q: Everybody is staring at Kimi Raikkonen and wondering if he can turn things in his favour at Ferrari. What's your guess, will he stay - and have you put out your feelers towards the Reds too?
SP: Yes, Ferrari is a fantastic team that offers many opportunities. To get near a consideration you need to show competitive weekends - and right now the last two to three weekends have been a bit quiet for me. I definitely need to show what I can do in the next couple of races – and in this context what happened in FP1 isn't really helpful. I need a big splash now!
Q: So how do you think your future will pan out?
SP: I will race in Formula One. Who knows where! But definitely I will stay in F1.
Q: From your four F1 starts here in Budapest you've only made it into the points once. It doesn't look like you're an enthusiastic fan of this track...
SP: The first time I made it into the points here was with McLaren. Last year I was en route to the points but the track was damp and I made a mistake and crashed – so when I make no mistakes there is no reason to not make it into the points.
Q: Could the conditions play to Force India's advantage? For you hotter is usually better than cooler conditions...
SP: Definitely this helps. Yes, I think we could draw some benefits from it.
Q: Before the holidays start on Monday there is still some work to do. Can you make a prediction of the race result – the first ten? Where do you see yourself?
SP: Ah, that is hard work! But my gut feeling is that Lewis (Hamilton) will win, Rosberg second and Vettel third. Fourth is a different matter. I take – I take myself in fourth - despite that bloody Friday morning! Fifth could be Williams: Felipe (Massa) fifth, Valtteri (Bottas) sixth, Nico (Hulkenberg) seventh, Toro Rosso eighth – either Max (Verstappen) or Carlos (Sainz) – and the both Lotus ninth and tenth. That would be a fun result!
Q: What's your plan for summer? What are you up to?
SP: I will have a quiet summer. A bit of work on the sponsor side, and then spending time with my family in Mexico. Nothing spectacular – just laying low a bit.