By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Sergio Perez is seeking to return to the podium during the 2018 Formula 1 season.
The 28-year-old Mexican has seven career podiums to his credit, four of which have come with current team Force India. However, a podium-less campaign last year – a first since 2013 with McLaren – has brought on an additional hunger to return to form.
With preseason showing various levels of unpredictability as the season rolls forward with this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, the goal – at the minimum – is that Force India’s new VJM11 can deliver another strong P4 effort in the constructor’s standings.
The anticipation of a tight midfield battle has fueled even greater anticipation to get the season rolling in Albert Park.
“The race in Melbourne is something I look forward to all winter,” said Perez. “It’s a really cool place to start the season. I love the city and it’s probably one of my favorite places to visit.
“One thing I love about Melbourne is the wildlife and the scenery. I remember driving down the Great Ocean Road a few years ago and loved the experience. I also enjoy visiting the zoo because I always like to see the koalas – even though they are usually asleep!
“You always arrive in Melbourne full of hope. There are lots of unanswered questions and it’s when you really start to understand your competitiveness. At the same time, it’s not a typical race because it’s usually quite unpredictable. Often, just finishing the race is the key to getting a good result.
With a best finish of seventh (2011, ’17) in seven starts at the Melbourne-based circuit, Perez will be hoping for even greater success at lights out.
“I feel in good shape and ready for the season to start,” said Perez.
“I want this to be my best year in Formula One and I want to be back on the podium. During testing we saw that all the midfield teams are quite close together in terms of performance. I also think the gap to the front of the grid is smaller. Let’s see what happens.
“The Albert Park circuit is always difficult. It’s not easy to find your flow because it’s quite stop and start. You need to be strong on the brakes and have good traction. I would say my favorite part of the lap is turn one; it’s challenging and bumpy, and it’s not easy to see the apex when you’re turning in.
“It becomes even more difficult late in the day when the sun is low in the sky and in your eyes.”