Perez targets Red Bull after taking fourth in Barcelona

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Force India's Sergio Perez is just one point away from overtaking Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the championship standings, following a successful Spanish Grand Prix.

"It's a hard target," Perez told Sky Sports F1 after Sunday's race. "We're not performance-wise at the level of Red Bull. But you know if we are consistently scoring points like this and they are doing mistakes, then it can happen. You never know!"

Verstappen crashed out at the first corner in Barcelona. Perez was able to avoid the fallout and take advantage of retirements for Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas to finish in fourth position.

"We made the most of the opportunities that came up. And we were there when it mattered to pick up the points."

The Mexican driver said that it was the team's consistency that was behind their success so far in 2017. Perez himself has finished in the points for the last 15 consecutive races. His last DNF was back in Hungary last summer.

"That's the great thing. We're always consistent in performance and maximising the result all the time," he said. "We're always taking the maximum we can at each race and that's really good.

"We stay out of trouble. The car is reliable. That's not an easy thing in total to do, and that's what we're doing at the moment."

Perez said that this week's race could hardly have gone better for Force India. His team mate Esteban Ocon also notched up his best finish in Formula 1 to date with fifth place.

“It has been an incredible day for us and I’m very proud of our team and the job we have done all weekend," said Perez. "Everything worked out for us and we have come away with some big points.

"I didn’t make the best start," he admitted. "But I stayed out of trouble and made it safely around the first lap. Then I kept my head down, managed my speed and controlled the race to bring the car home.

"The only small issue was a slow pit stop, but I had enough time to the car behind and it didn’t make a difference.

"It hasn’t been an easy weekend in terms of finding a car set-up," he added. "To be leaving here with a fourth place feels amazing and gives us big confidence for the rest of the season.”

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