Chinese GP: Force India not as strong as in Bahrain - Sergio Perez
|By Ben Anderson||Friday, April 18th 2014, 11:08 GMT|
Sergio Perez does not expect Force India to be as competitive in the Chinese Grand Prix as it was last time out in Bahrain, after struggling in free practice.
The Mexican scored the team's first Formula 1 podium since 2009 in the last race, helping Force India emerge as the second strongest squad behind the works Mercedes cars.
But technical problems restricted Perez to just 13 laps in FP1 at the Shanghai circuit on Friday. He also struggled with the set-up of his car, winding up only 15th fastest in both sessions.
"We know we're not as competitive as in Bahrain but we need to try and maximise what we have right now," Perez told AUTOSPORT.
"Hopefully we can do good work overnight, do a good qually and try to do the right strategy for the race.
"This circuit is very different to Bahrain, so it's something we were expecting.
"Obviously we are quite behind and do not have a very good balance so we've got some work to do.
"The good thing is we're confident we can find some good laptime tomorrow, which should put us in the top 10."
Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who lies third in the drivers' championship, was fifth fastest in the morning but slipped outside the top 10 in the afternoon.
"I think my option [soft tyre] run wasn't the best," Hulkenberg conceded.
"We have a bit more performance to show in terms of adjusting the car and preparing the lap.
"The car behaved OK today. We didn't look as strong, but today is not the final day of Shanghai. I expect there's a bit more to come.
"[It will be] the usual gains from learning from Friday and getting your act together in qualifying. It's not that we have a magic second in the pocket."