Sergio Pérez praised his BWT Racing Point Formula One Team mechanics and engineers for a ‘fantastic job’ after the Mexican was able to qualify fourth on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon.
Pérez missed out on third by the narrowest of margins to McLaren F1 Team’s Carlos Sainz Jr. at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, but the Mexican showed strong pace throughout the three sessions of Qualifying, finishing third in Q1 and fourth in both Q2 and Q3.
The thirty-year-old admitted he was surprised to be a strong as they were in Qualifying having set the car up for the race, and the focus now turns to converting the top four grid spot into a good result on Sunday afternoon.
“The team has done a fantastic job today,” said Pérez. “We’ve worked so hard to improve the car in every session – and we’ve managed to secure a great starting position.
“We’ve focused on getting the car set up for the race, so I’m surprised with how competitive we were in qualifying. It’s always important to qualify well here – because overtaking isn’t easy – and P4 is a great starting position.
“We’ve taken some steps forward and I’m confident we can fight for a podium finish tomorrow. There’s been a lot of talk about engine modes, and it probably affected us a little in qualifying, but it should help our race pace tomorrow.
“I’m pleased for the team and impressed with how we’ve turned things around through the weekend. Now we can focus on getting a good result tomorrow.”
“I definitely feel like we could have started higher than P8” – Lance Stroll
Team-mate Lance Stroll will start eighth on the grid, but he felt he left some time on the table and should have qualified a little higher up than he was able to achieve.
Stroll was more than three-tenths of a second adrift of Pérez, but whereas the Mexican will start on the second row, the Canadian’s best lap of 1:20.049 will see him start on row four.
“We made good progress with the car overnight and were more competitive than I expected, so I definitely feel like we could have started higher than P8,” said Stroll. “It wasn’t the cleanest qualifying session for me: I made a mistake on my first attempt in Q3, which compromised my lap.
“It’s always hard at Monza with the traffic and picking up a tow, but we can turn the page now and focus on tomorrow. It’s difficult to overtake, but with a strong start we can hopefully score some good points.
“I’m happy for Checo up in P4 and all credit to the team for their hard work improving the car this week.”
‘Strong Showing’ leaves Szafnauer ‘Optimistic of Scoring Well’ at Monza
Otmar Szafnauer, the CEO and Team Principal of Racing Point, says the starting positions for Pérez and Stroll gives them a great chance of good points this weekend at Monza, and they are within touching distance of their first podium result of 2020.
Szafnauer was pleased to how the team responded to a difficult Friday to get both drivers into the top ten in Qualifying and he is confident they can continue their good pace into Sunday’s race.
“A strong showing this afternoon, which leaves me optimistic of scoring well tomorrow,” said Szafnauer. “Despite a challenging Friday, we took a step forward with the car overnight and both drivers were inside the top ten in all the sessions.
“Lance wasn’t satisfied with his Q3 lap but, from P8 on the grid, I’m confident he can use his race pace to fight the cars ahead. Sergio’s P4 start represents his best starting position at Monza and gives us a great chance to race for a podium tomorrow.”