Pérez Positive After Hockenheim Qualifying: “We’ve taken a step forward this weekend”

by Paul Hensby

Sergio Pérez was positive after Qualifying eighth on the grid for the German Grand Prix, with the Mexican feeling his Racing Point F1 Team have taken a step forward this weekend.

Pérez felt the updated and upgraded RP19 has given him confidence behind the wheel to attack and he was happy to find himself inside the top ten at the Hockenheimring, although he only just scraped into Q2 by 0.010 seconds ahead of Alfa Romeo Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

With Charles Leclerc unable to take to the track, Pérez was able to set the eighth fastest time of Q3, ahead of Renault F1 Team’s Nico Hülkenberg, and he felt the performance will give his Racing Point team a big boost.

“I’m happy with the result today,” said Pérez.  “We’ve taken a step forward this weekend and the new parts have made a difference. Tomorrow we have a good opportunity to race well and score points.

“Reaching Q3 again is a big boost for everyone in the team after a few difficult races. All the way from Q1 to Q3 I gave it everything and the margins in the middle of the grid were so small. Today a tenth here and there made a big difference.”

Pérez believes Racing Point also has the long run pace to fight with those ahead for points, with the Mexican looking to end his six-race pointless run on Sunday.

“We have a strong race car as well and I’m confident we can fight with the cars ahead of us,” said the Mexican.  “I want to come away with some points tomorrow.”

Team-mate Lance Stroll will start fifteenth on the grid but at least was able to escape Q1 for the first time in 2019, but a wild run towards the end of Q2 prevented him from joining his team-mate in the top ten shootout.  The Canadian felt he took a step backwards between Friday practice and Saturday’s running, which left his downbeat about his ultimate Qualifying position.

“My qualifying was far from ideal, and it’s a shame because the car had the pace to make Q3 today,” admitted Stroll.  “The car felt good in Q1 and we were competitive, but Q2 fell away from me.

“Yesterday we were looking really strong but we didn’t really get the balance right in Q2 and if anything took a step backwards compared to where we were. I’m a little bit frustrated, but tomorrow is another day.

“We know we always race well and maybe we will get some wet weather. It won’t be easy from P15, but I still think we can target some points.”

Otmar Szafnauer, the CEO and Team Principal of Racing Point, was pleased that the hard work being put in to improve the RP19 is beginning to show off, with Pérez in a good position to fight for a points finish on Sunday.  He also believes that Stroll will be able to move forward from his starting position if they can replicate the competitive-looking race pace they showed during free practice.

“We’ve improved the car this weekend and today’s qualifying effort shows the hard work is beginning to pay off,” said Szafnauer.  “Sergio is well placed starting from P8 and he delivered some clean and tidy laps across all three sessions.

“Lance progressed to Q2 and was much happier with the car in the lead up to qualifying. Some balance issues held him back in Q2, but I think he can move up the order tomorrow with the race pace we have in the car.”

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