Qualifying - Mexico GP report: Force India Mercedes
Sahara Force India delivered a strong qualifying performance today with Sergio Perez lining up in ninth place just ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg for tomorrow’s Mexican Grand Prix.
“I felt very privileged to be driving at home today and to feel so much support from the fans. They have given me lots of energy and I’m extremely motivated to give them something to celebrate this weekend – that’s the best way to repay them. I think we did a good job today and we are in a competitive position for the race. We were aiming to be the last car on track during Q3 to try and make the most of the track evolution, but in the end it didn’t really make a huge difference. I think eighth was possible, especially when you look at the small gap to Max [Verstappen]. For tomorrow expectations will be high, I know that, but it’s a very positive pressure and I just need to say focussed, work through my usual routine and treat tomorrow as a normal race. The car is working well, we’ve done our homework, and I want to move forward in the race.”
“I think we pretty much got everything we could out of this session. I haven’t felt 100% confident with the car, but in those conditions the final lap I did was really good. Our one-lap pace is strong enough to make it into Q3, but I’m feeling better about our long run pace and confident for tomorrow. The weather could play a part: there is a threat of rain, which could mix up the field and make the race really interesting. It’s a new track so we don’t have as much information compared to other places, which leaves a few question marks going in the race, but hopefully there will be a happy ending for us. It would be a good reward for the fans, as you can feel all the love and attention that we are getting from this amazing crowd. I may not be the home hero here, but I am still getting a lot of support which is an extra boost.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal & Managing Director
“I feel satisfied with our performance today. As we predicted, the grid was very tight with just four tenths separating the fourth-placed car and Nico in tenth. Both Checo and Nico drove very well today and we are well-placed to deliver a strong performance in the race. There are some question marks over what the weather will do tomorrow, and given the fresh tarmac that could make for some tricky conditions. Whatever the weather, we’ve shown recently that we can react quickly and make the right calls when it matters. Once again, I want to pay tribute to the enthusiasm of the crowd and the energy they have given the entire team. We are all determined to reward them with a fantastic race tomorrow.”