Sergio Perez said Force India are less competitive than he expected after qualifying 13th for the Australian Grand Prix.
“You can never be happy being P13,” Perez told media in Australia. “Especially knowing that I got a hell of a lap out there. It’s just not enough.”
“It’s not like something went wrong. I think the performance today was there but it’s just where the car is. Hopefully we can improve and get closer to the competition.”
Perez had pinned his hopes on the team’s performance upgrade for the first race of the season but admitted their pace was “worse than expected” today. “We thought here we had a bit of a better opportunity, a better shot to be fighting for Q3.”
Force India has further developments planned to improve the car’s aerodynamic performance including a new front wing at the next round. Perez believes this is the area they need to work on.
“I think the load of the car is not there,” he said. “We have probably less downforce than the other teams at the moment.”
“But it’s a long season and I believe in the team, I think we can move up.”
“We’ve been in this situation before in Melbourne, first race of the season,” he added. “It’s a long trip to Abu Dhabi.”
Perez is more confident about the team’s prospects in Sunday’s grand prix. “I think in the race we are a bit better,” he said. “If we can go a good start, make up some positions, we can be in a strong position tomorrow.
2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year