I don’t know what it is about the Baku City street circuit that drives the best out of Force India. In 2016, Sergio Perez started second and brought his No. 11 Mercedes home third. Last year, he started sixth but had an early retirement. But, in 2017, his teammate Esteban Ocon was strong in starting seventh and finishing sixth.
So far this weekend, both drivers have been strong again.
In Friday’s two practice sessions around the 3.730-mile Azerbaijan street course, each of the Force India drivers were in the top five in the first session and inside the top 12 in session No. 2. Perez, was third and 12th respectively, while Ocon was fifth and seventhrespectively himself in his No. 31 Mercedes.
Perez, has yet to finish inside the points in 2018 though, but did have eight straight points races last year and 11 in the final 12 events of 2017. On the flipside, Ocon had 19 top 10’s in his last 22 starts, but only one in 2018. He scored one point at China with his 10th place effort.
This year, both drivers are 10th to 12th place drivers so far. They’ve each finished in that range in two of the three races thus far. But, here they are running up front with the big boys this weekend and with a great shot at a podium in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix (8 a.m. ET/ESPN 2).