BWT Racing Point Formula One Team had their first double points finish since the Eifel Grand Prix at this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
Sergio Pérez gained his first podium finish of the year after coming so close on numerous occasions. Pérez started in third but climbed up to second on the first lap due to a bad start from Max Verstappen who was sitting in second. The wet conditions did not seem to hinder his race at all unlike a lot of other drivers on the grid.
Pérez team opted to give the driver just one pit stop after his intermediate tyres he has at lap 10 seems to be coping with the conditions. A late charge from the two Scuderia Ferrari’s of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel put his second place finish at risk with Leclerc nearly overtaking him on the last corner. Fortunately, Pérez defended well and crossed the line in second.
Pérez also now sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, showing the Mexican driver has the talent for a seat next year.
Pérez said: “We’ve come close to a podium several times this year, so it’s great to enjoy the moment now with the team. It was an exciting race and a difficult one all the way to the end. I was trying to look after the tyres, push at the right time to keep the temperatures in the right window, and learn the track all at the same time. It’s a great result and we called it exactly right.
“When I crossed the line, I told the team that I didn’t think the tyres could last another lap! They were vibrating like hell at the end. It was about keeping it on the track and making the right calls, which we did. The key was managing the intermediates at the beginning and end of the second stint, it made a huge difference. Lewis was on another level today and, once he got by me, he controlled the race.
“So, second was the best we could achieve and we did a great job to keep the Red Bulls and Ferraris behind. I had no idea Max was chasing me with all the spray and my mirrors being fogged up: I just saw him run wide and then disappear. There was also a crazy end to the race with Charles! I made a little mistake into Turn 9 and he got by me, but I was able to cut back in front at Turn 11 and then Seb got through too! We’re all delighted with today’s result and it was a great effort by the team. We’re going to enjoy it tonight!”
Lance Stroll – “It’s really hard to understand what happened today”
Lance Stroll’s bad fortunate had seemed to have turned after gaining pole position at Intercity Istanbul Park.
From the start of the race, he controlled it well, especially in the dire wet conditions, and stayed in the top spot until his second pit stop on Lap 36. It was starting to look like it was Stroll’s race win to lose. However, the new intermediates that were put on his car didn’t seem to have the same pace as the previous tyres and the Canadian found himself falling down the pecking order.
Despite Stroll pushing his car to the max, he just couldn’t gain positions and his race win ended up being a ninth place finish.
“It’s really hard to understand what happened today and we need to go away and figure it out. I made a good start from pole position and I was able to build up a lead of over 10 seconds in the first stint, which gave us a real platform for the second stint to get a great result,” said Stroll.
“Throughout the race, I was struggling with graining on the intermediate tyre. The team made the right call to pit when we did because the graining was extremely difficult and it didn’t look like slick conditions would ever arrive. But we then had significant graining on my second set of intermediates, and I couldn’t push to make up places.
“In hindsight, maybe staying out would have allowed the tyre to clean up, but it’s easy to say that now. Getting pole yesterday was a great achievement, but the points are scored on Sunday. It was fun to lead so many laps, but we didn’t lead enough! While I’m frustrated today, Checo’s scored valuable points and we’ll switch focus to the final few races.”
Otmar Szafnauer – “Today’s result is a memorable one that has lifted the team back into third in the Constructors”
After the double points finish and a podium, Racing Point have found themselves up to third in the Constructors’ Championship. Previous holders Renault DP World F1 Team could only gain one point and McLaren F1 Team gained sixteen. Racing Point outscored both to put them ‘best of the rest’.
CEO and Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer applauds the team for all they achieved over the weekend but is still a bit clueless on what went wrong with Stroll.
Szafnauer said: “A podium is a great result for the team after an excellent drive by Checo. We can be very proud of the fact we led a significant amount of the race in very difficult conditions with both cars. As we’ve come to expect with Checo, he managed the wet tyre very well early on and the team timed his switch to intermediates perfectly.
“To manage the intermediate on a changing track surface for 48 laps was a huge challenge, but he managed it to secure P2. It’s a shame Lance didn’t get the result he deserved. He handled the pressure of starting on pole position very well. He was flawless today and carved out a lead of over 10 seconds, when his tyres worked as expected. It was tough to judge the conditions, but we made the right call to switch Lance to intermediates, rather than wait for slick conditions that ultimately never arrived.
“We need to look into why Lance struggled so much with graining on the new intermediates because that prevented him from joining Checo on the podium. Regardless, today’s result is a memorable one that has lifted the team back into third in the Constructors’ Championship, which is a real boost going into the final few races of the season.”
It was later discovered by the Racing Point engineers that Stroll’s RP20 had suffered damage to the front wing that hampered the performance of the tyres during the race. On Monday, following the Turkish Grand Prix, the team tweeted an explanation describing how the graining was caused by a broken strake on the underside of the front wing, which heavily impacted the downforce, thus causing the tyres to grain almost immediately: