Force India's Sergio Perez has set his sights on finishing on the podium in tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix after qualifying for the race in fifth place, which translates into fourth on the grid following Daniel Ricciardo's penalty.
Sergio Perez was outqualified by his highly rated teammate Nico Hulkenberg during the first two races of the season, but the Mexican turned the pendulum towards his favour with a superb performance that will see him start the race in a career best fourth position.
"It was definitely a great qualifying session and the team did a fantastic job to give me such a competitive car. We're already thinking about and I think the clear target must be to aim for the podium," an elated Perez said after qualifying.
"We're in the best possible position to fight at the front and I’m going to make the most of it. I've got some very good memories of this track but I want to create even better ones."
The 24 year believes this race will essentially kick start his season after two frustrating races in Australia and Malaysia.
"It was definitely a great qualifying session and the team did a fantastic job to give me such a competitive car. After the problems we had in the first two races I feel this has been the first real opportunity to show the potential of the car. I believe we could have been even closer to the front, but I couldn't warm up my brakes enough on the out lap of my final run in Q3 and so I didn’t improve.
Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg had a disappointing day at the office after making a couple of mistakes on his flying lap. He starts the race from 11th place after Ricciardo's penalty.
"My lap in Q2 was not the best one. I made a mistake in turn 11 and ran wide on the exit kerb, which completely ruined my lap. I lost a couple of tenths and that made the difference between making it into Q3 and missing out, " Hulkenberg said.
Nevertheless, the German was optimistic about scoring a good result, citing VJM07's strong long run pace during practice sessions.
"I do believe the chance for a good result tomorrow is still there and I feel optimistic. We showed on Friday that we have good long run pace and I have two new sets of soft tyes for the race. The strategy decisions for tomorrow will be important to help me move forward and with the cooler conditions it should be easier on the tyres compared to Malaysia.”