Racing Point F1 Team had an positive day of running on the opening day of the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, even if the timesheets didn’t particularly show the true pace of the cars.
Sergio Pérez completed a total of 79 laps over the two practice sessions to finish fifteenth and twelfth, successfully completing their pre-race preparation programme in the Austrian heat.
“I’m feeling positive. The hot conditions today are similar to those we expect for the race and we’ve done some important homework and collected lots of information,” said Pérez.
The high track temperatures could cause issues in the race with tyre wear and brake management, with that said, Pérez believes the majority of the field will opt for a one stop strategy.
He added: “I think everybody will try and do a one-stop race on Sunday, but the high track temperatures will make this quite challenging. With such a short circuit here in Austria, the priority tomorrow is putting together a clean and tidy lap because if you lose a tenth here, it’s more costly than some other tracks.”
The day was not so positive for the Lance Stroll, despite completing a total of 69 laps, the Canadian fell foul of two red flag incidents, which affected his timed runs, meaning he finished down the order in eighteenth in both sessions.
“It’s not been the easiest of Fridays: track temperatures were incredibly high and it was quite windy out there, too. Unfortunately, the red flags came at just the wrong time for me, when I was doing my performance runs on the soft tyre – but at least those were simulations and not qualifying for real.” he said.
“I lost a bit of time going wide on the kerb in second practice, but the team did a great job and got me back out quickly. We have a lot of things to work on tonight to find some extra pace and we will come back fighting tomorrow.”
Despite the mixed fortunes for the drivers, CEO & Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer thought the day had been a success.
“A solid day of set-up work, data collection, and race preparation. It was a pretty typical Friday, apart from the red flags, which disrupted the afternoon session and made it difficult to find a rhythm in the first half of practice,” said Szafnauer.
“We always expect a very close grid here – with so few corners making up the lap – and have worked hard on our one lap pace today.
“The hot track conditions add another factor into the mix, especially in terms of tyre management and brake cooling, but I’m confident we’ve learned enough this afternoon to guide our decision-making in the lead up to qualifying.”