Force India driver Sergio Perez expects a tough battle with his teammate Esteban Ocon after a year of intense battle on the track.
The Silverstone outfit is hoping to keep its fourth place in the team standings in the face of the added pressure from McLaren and Renault. Due to the massive lead the team had on fifth-placed Williams, the fight between the two drivers did not majorly influence the team’s standings. But things could change for the outfit in 2018, Perez predicts.
When asked about his relationship with Ocon, the Mexican said: “The good thing was how we finished last year and how we ended it working together,”
“That is the same approach we have to go into this year with as it is very important that we keep working together, keep working hard for the benefit of the team. Especially at this stage of the season.
“Now he has the experience we have to push the team forward together to get the best possible result because it is going to be a massive year for Force India as there are big teams coming and big teams that are going to push us very hard. I believe it is going to be a hard year for us.”
Perez had a 13 point lead over his lesser experienced teammate last year. But Ocon will be more competitive this, he assures.
“Yes, you never stop learning in Formula One and he is going to have more experience but it is always good to have a competitive teammate next to you. I believe that I will get better as well so it will be a hard battle but in F1 your first reference is your teammate and I believe Esteban is a good one to have.”
When asked if he was in touch with the French teammate over the winter, Perez said: “No. Not at all. I didn’t send flowers to him, let’s put it that way. There was not a lot of communication and everyone wanted to have a quiet time. We both know we are not like best friends but we both respect each other and we want to work well for the benefit of the team.”