W that's why Force India is doing itself heavier than in recent years?
Perez: There are no miracles in Formula 1. We had financial problems and couldn't develop the car the way we wanted. If we had developed at the same pace as in previous years, we would easily have been “Best of the rest”.
The car was already problematic in the winter tests.
Perez: That's true, but we have had this kind of situation several times and have always managed to work our way out of it and make the car competitive.
What was the lack of the car at the beginning?
Perez: We still have the problems, just not that bad. We lack downforce in the rear. The car is too restless at the corner entrance. That hits me hard. I had to make massive changes in my driving style to compensate for the car's deficits. I'm used to taking a lot of speed into the curve. If I then have to struggle with the car at the corner entrance, that's a problem.
But that has improved?
Perez: Yes, but not enough. Many upgrades came late.
Can you also feel that the Mercedes factor has been lost?
Perez: Ferrari did a great job. That helps HaasF1 and Sauber. We are lucky that HaasF1 has so far not made enough of its possibilities. Otherwise they would even be in front of Renault. To be honest, I am more concerned with HaasF1 than Renault. We owe it to our team that we are still there. We always get the maximum out of it. That's why I'm not pessimistic. I know the qualities of the team. I trust our boys. We just have to solve a few problems with the car.
Esteban Ocon and you have been involved in accidents on the first lap five times this year, which in the end cost you a lot of points. Will the race be harder this year?
Perez: The outcome of the first lap determines 90 percent of the outcome, and on some tracks 95 percent of the outcome of the race. That's why everyone wants to make up as many places as possible.
You have more points than your teammate, he is leading the training duel. Why that?
Perez: In qualifying I suffer more from the deficits of the car than in the race. I can cover it up in the race.Although this year it is no longer so easy to manage the tires because of the problems with the car.
Your forecast for the rest of the season?
Perez: We haven't had the best year so far, but we are still fully in it Fight for fourth place. If the finances are settled, we still have a chance of defending fourth place.
What will be the key?
Perez: That we get the upgrades that are already planned. They will significantly improve our car.
With their third places in Baku in 2016 and 2018, they are one of the few drivers with a podium who are not in a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull. How frustrating is it for you not to have a chance of a podium?
Perez: Very frustrating. There are two categories in Formula 1. For me, it's the biggest problem Formula 1 has to solve if it wants to improve the show. The field must move closer together. There has to be more than three teams fighting for victory. At the moment we should do it like Le Mans. There is one winner in the first category and one in the second.
Nico Hülkenberg said: If you don't make it into one of the top three teams, you will probably never win a Grand Prix. Do you also have this concern?
Perez: Yes, I have that too. Between the fastest and slowest drivers in Formula 1 there is perhaps three tenths, nothing more. But one driver has won four world championships, the other not even a Grand Prix. Or not even a podium. This is no longer a fair sport. The gap between the top cars and the rest is too big.
Where does this second or more per lap get lost on the top cars?
Perez : Everywhere. When braking, turning in, accelerating. There are corners where the top cars drive through. Verstappen, for example, in the first corner at Hockenheim. We brake or shift down. If I don't do that, I'll end up in the wall. And now Verstappen was a long way away from Mercedes and at HockenheimFerrari. One and a half seconds per lap, that's a massive difference in downforce. Actually, it cannot be described at all. Another world.
You have been a father since this year. Have you become a different racing driver?
Perez: When I put the helmet on, I'll be the same as before. I always drive to the limit. My goal is to always win. I hate getting hit. I've changed outside of the track. I have become calmer and more mature. I learned: There is also a life outside of Formula 1.
Do you commute back and forth between Europe and Mexico more often?
Perez: I moved to Europe with my family. So I can see them more often.
How difficult is it for you to find the right team for 2019?
Perez: If Force India survives and gets into good hands, I would love to stay. It's still the best team behind the big three. This year I no longer have to hope for a top team, like I used to when I waited forever for a decision from Ferrari. Therefore the decision should be made earlier this time.
Note: We conducted this interview on Thursday (July 26th) before the race in Hungary.