Perez a changed man, says Force India

Russian Grand Prix podium finisher Sergio Perez is a changed man from the one who failed to shine at McLaren, says his Force India team.

The Mexican driver produced a sensational podium performance at Sochi after running a long stint on soft tyres following a mid-race safety car period.

Although briefly losing third spot when he was overtaken by Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen on the penultimate lap, a collision between his rivals moved him back up.

It was another example of Perez's exceptional ability to manage tyres and it was a performance that left Force India deputy team boss Bob Fernley convinced that his man is in the form of his career.

"I think it is about having the confidence and him feeling comfortable within the team environment, and I think that has been shown progressively over the past year or two with us," said Fernley.

McLaren recovery

Although Perez's F1 future had been in doubt when McLaren elected to drop him at the end of 2013, Fernley believes that Force India's environment has helped bring out his best of him over the past two years.

When asked about the impact of his McLaren spell, Fernley said: "I think it was just an unfortunate experience and that move to McLaren came a bit too early for Checo.

"You cannot underestimate McLaren. From our side, we knew we had a good talent, it was just a case of nurturing through."

Fernley believes that Perez's ability in races in every bit as good as Nico Hulkenberg's, while his qualifying performances are improving.

Speaking about both drivers, Fernley said: "They have different skill bases and that is what makes it really good for the team.

"We have different strengths from each driver and it allows us to lean on one or the other depending where we are circuit wise.

"So for us it is perfect and for them, so close. Even qualifying this weekend was about fractions. I think it is a good combination."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Russian GP
Track Sochi Autodrom
Drivers Sergio Perez
Teams Force India
Article type Breaking news