Sergio Pérez says his Racing Point F1 Team still have the opportunity to close out the season with fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship, with the Renault F1 Team still within sight despite being only two races remaining.
The Mexican, who scored one point in the United States Grand Prix to move Racing Point ahead of Scuderia Toro Rosso and into sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, says the eighteen more points that Renault have can be closed down, with the first opportunity to do just that coming this weekend at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, the venue of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
“When you arrive in Brazil, you know the season is nearing the end,” said Pérez. “It’s the time of the year when it’s getting close in the championship. We still have a chance to fight for fifth, so adding more points this weekend is very important.
“I like being in Brazil and in some ways it reminds me of Mexico. The people are very warm and relaxed, and they love F1 just as much as the Mexican fans. They are always having a party in the grandstands.”
Pérez feels the first corner of the track heading into the Senna ‘S’ is the best opportunity for an overtake to be completed, but despite looking like a simple layout, it is far from easy to run a perfect lap, with drivers needing to be precise across the kerbs if they want to be quick.
“The start of the lap is good fun through the Senna ‘S’ and I think it’s probably the best place to try and overtake during the race,” said the Mexican. “At the end of a long straight you can be very late on the brakes and dive down the inside.
“The circuit is quite short and it reminds me of a karting track. Even though it looks quite simple, it’s not easy to get the perfect lap. You need to be really precise with placing the car and to find the lap time you need to use the kerbs.
“The weather can be a major factor too. It rains quite often and clouds can develop quickly in the area. That can mix things up, as it did in 2016.”
Team-mate Lance Stroll says racing at Interlagos is ‘interesting’, but the Brazilian fans show so much passion and emotion that proves they love their racing despite no Brazilian drivers being on the grid. The last Brazilian to race in Formula 1 was Felipe Massa, twice a winner at Interlagos, who retired at the end of 2017.
“Racing at Interlagos is always an interesting experience,” said Stroll. “There is so much passion and emotion from the Brazilian fans. They love racing and they’ve got a great history in the sport.
“It’s quite a compact track and it’s tight and twisty in the middle section. I remember it being quite bumpy too. It’s much more undulating than it looks on television and you really notice that when you walk the track.
“There is a steep drop through the first chicane and then at the end of the lap there is a big climb from the final corner onto the straight. It makes things more interesting in the car and I quite like those aspects of the lap.”
Stroll admits his previous visits to the track have not gone very well so he is eager to do better in 2019, particularly with the Constructors’ Championship battle for fifth being as close as it is.
“It’s not been a good track to me in the two times I’ve been there, but I think we’ve got a good opportunity to put things right this year,” said the Canadian. “It’s a close fight in the Constructors’ Championship so we have plenty at stake.”
Otmar Szafnauer, the CEO and Team Principal at Racing Point, says Brazil offers a great chance for them to score more points and take the fight to Renault in that battle for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
The American has been pleased with the performance levels shown by the RP19 since the summer break, and there should not be any reason why they couldn’t strike for more points this weekend in Brazil.
“Brazil presents us with another good opportunity to score points,” said Szafnauer. “The car has been working well across a range of different tracks and I’m confident we can be just as competitive this weekend.
“It’s hard to judge our performance at the last race in the USA because it was compromised by various factors, but there’s no doubt we didn’t show our true potential.
“Overall, as we near the end of the season, I can say that I am pleased with our performance since the summer break. We’ve worked hard to improve the car and scored points in all but one of the last seven races.
“The point we scored in America helped move us up to sixth place in the championship and mathematically we can still aim for fifth. There’s lots at stake and lots to fight for, so we need to maximise the opportunities this weekend.”