Racing Point happy with practice performance in Japan

by Findlay Grant

Racing Point F1 Team are happy with their performance in both Friday practice sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka International Racing Course.

Mexican racer Sergio Pérez said he feels the team can be “quite happy” with their performance compared to the opposition.

“I think we can be quite happy with the performance today – certainly compared to the teams we expect to be racing on Sunday,” he said.

He put together an overall good performance, securing eighth on the grid in both sessions, setting a 1:30.810 personal best in the first session, marginally improving with a 1:29.299 in the second.

Pérez recognised the weekend could prove to be interesting with the cancellation of qualifying due to the imminent typhoon, which would mean the grid is decided by practice results.

“With the rain due to arrive later tonight, and qualifying cancelled tomorrow, there’s still a chance that qualifying might not take place on Sunday morning. If this happens, then today’s practice results will make up the grid.”

He is happy with the thought of starting in eighth position, as it puts him right in the middle of the pack, meaning it’s going to be a battle for position.

“If that is the case, then eighth place is not a bad place to start the race. It’s close in the middle of the grid – with half a second covering about ten cars – so it’s going to be a close battle whatever happens on Sunday,” he concluded.

Pérez’s team-mate, the Canadian Lance Stroll, also felt that he had two successful practice sessions.

“It was a good day. I think the car is working well, but we need to see what happens with the weather on Sunday. There are question marks about whether qualifying will even happen – because we don’t know if the storm will have cleared by Sunday morning.

“It certainly made things a little bit more interesting in Free Practice 2 and we had to think more about qualifying today.”

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer has said the Super Typhoon has made some usual changes to the weekend’s schedule.

“It has been quite an unusual day. The Super Typhoon is closing in on Japan and the organisers took the sensible decision to call off track activities on Saturday. With qualifying and the race taking place on Sunday, it means we lose the final practice session,” said Szafnauer.

He hopes the race will still go ahead, but knows they will just have to play the waiting game for the time being.

“Now it’s a case of wait and see what happens when the typhoon hits and how long it takes to clear us. I’m hopeful that we can still have the race on Sunday, but obviously the safety of the fans and everybody involved in the sport will take priority,” he added.

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