Racing Point “in a tough place” with double Q1 elimination in Hungary

by Craig Venn

A disastrous qualifying for the Racing Point F1 Team saw Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll eliminated in Q1 for the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix, leaving them “in a tough place” for the race.

Despite seeing Q2 for the first time in 2019 last time out in Germany, Lance Stroll was back to his customary place in the bottom five in Hungary; he’ll start from nineteenth, joining Robert Kubica on the final row for Sunday’s race having set a lap-time of 1:17.542, almost three-seconds off the pole-position pace.

His team-mate Pérez suffered a similar fate in controversial circumstances as his final Q1 run was “badly compromised” when Daniel Ricciardo attempted to pass the Mexican as they both started their final flying lap. Pérez believes that without Ricciardo’s “disrespectful” move, he could have progressed to Q2. Instead, he’ll start seventeenth.

“It’s been a difficult day,” said Pérez. “I think we could have got through to Q2 to be honest. It would have needed a good lap, but we didn’t get it.

“My final run was badly compromised when all the cars were trying to find space in the final corner. That’s where Ricciardo tried to do something crazy, overtaking me in the last corner.

“He screwed up his lap and my lap too because I ended up too close to Norris and Daniel was close behind me.

“We all know traffic is tricky in Q1. We spoke about it in the Drivers’ Briefing and the importance of being respectful of each other. For me, it was quite disrespectful. He’s an experienced driver and I didn’t expect that from him.

“We know this track isn’t the best for us anyway, but now we’re really in a tough place for tomorrow. It’s been a bad day for us, so let’s hope it gets better in the race.”

Stroll was left just as frustrated but takes some solace from the season’s previous race in Germany in which he managed to finish an unexpected fourth.

“It’s been a frustrating day,” said Stroll. “We know this circuit is not the best suited to our car and that’s shown in the end result.

“We really struggled in practice this morning and that put us on the back foot for qualifying.

“I was blocked on one of my laps and there were also some mistakes from my side which proved costly because I think it could have been much better. It was not our day, but as we saw last weekend, anything can happen in the race and we will be pushing hard tomorrow.”

Racing Point’s CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer was left equally disappointed in his team’s qualifying result and will turn to the team’s strategists during the race to “generate some opportunities.”

“A disappointing qualifying session where we didn’t maximise our performance,” said Szafnauer. “Both drivers got caught out by the traffic in Q1 and that cost us the chance to progress.

“We’ve got to take this one on the chin because today’s result doesn’t reflect the progress we’ve made with the car recently. It’s a shame not to be further up the grid because we know how tough it is to overtake around here.

“There are a few question marks about tyres and race pace because of the disrupted Friday sessions, so maybe that will create some variation in the strategies tomorrow and generate some opportunities for us.”

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