Sergio Pérez reckoned it was the best Friday of 2019 for the Racing Point F1 Team, with the Mexican finishing inside the top ten in both practice sessions at the Sochi Autodrom.
Pérez ended the morning session in Russia ninth fastest but improved to set the seventh best time of the afternoon, ending 1.836 seconds off the quickest time of the day set by Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
The Mexican, a podium finisher in Russia back in 2015, felt it was a productive day with lots of aerodynamic work being done, which leaves him looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
“A promising day. I think it’s been our best Friday of the season in terms of understanding and progress,” said Pérez. “We did a lot of aero work and I’m very pleased with the day.
“I’m massively looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday. The conditions could change at any time so we have to be ready to react to the weather, try to find a couple of tenths and we should be fighting for a strong position.”
Team-mate Lance Stroll was also pleased with his day in Russia, with the Canadian improving from fourteenth in the morning session to end the afternoon in ninth. He feels the team are showing good signs of competitiveness wherever they go at this stage of the season, and it leaves him confident for the rest of the weekend.
“I’m happy with today and the car is feeling good,” said Stroll. “There are still some things to work on in terms of the balance, but we seem quite competitive at the moment.
“Anything can happen tomorrow and there may be a bit of rain in the mix too. Singapore was the first race with the new package and sometimes it takes more than a weekend to find a good balance.
“We still have to work on a few things but we’re not in bad shape.”
Otmar Szafnauer, the CEO and Team Principal of Racing Point, says the running has given the team a lot of information to go through, and it was pleasing that both drivers have started the weekend with a good set-up. He says there is further work to do on Saturday morning in Qualifying trim, although he acknowledges rain could present a much different challenge should it arrive.
“Overall it has been a productive day that’s given us plenty of information to analyse this evening,” said Szafnauer. “The track evolved quite significantly throughout the first session, during which we were carrying out a substantial aero test programme.
“It was a good opportunity to continue evaluating the car parts that were introduced in Singapore. That all went quite smoothly and the drivers felt happy with the baseline car set-up.
“The focus now is to work on the low-fuel qualifying performance, but the weather forecast tomorrow is far from certain with a high chance of rain, which would present a very different challenge.”