Sergio Pérez left it late during Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but the Mexican secured an excellent fifth on the grid as he bids to take fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship in 2020.
The BWT Racing Point Formula One Team driver has been one of the stars of the season and has scored points in every race he has competed in. Last time out, he finished a superb second in the Turkish Grand Prix, and he seems to have taken the momentum from the Intercity Istanbul Park into this weekend’s event at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Pérez says the call to use only one set of their new soft tyres in Q1 benefited Racing Point in Q3 when his second run enabled him to move up to fifth on the grid, although he was less than a tenth of a second away from a place on the second row.
“P5 is a great result for the team and I’m very happy with our performance,” said Pérez. “We were able to be really decisive on the strategy and get through Q1 by using just one set of the soft tyres, which was absolutely the right call and meant we could use two sets of new soft tyres in Q3.
“When you look at the fact that I found two tenths on my second run in Q3, that call helped earn us several spots on the grid. It was a good lap at the end of Q3, although I think I lost a little bit of time in Turn 13 that might have helped me get P4.”
Racing Point are involved in a tight battle with the McLaren F1 Team, Renault DP World F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari for third place in the Constructors’ Championship, and Pérez says it will be important to have a good race on Sunday to give the Silverstone-based team the advantage over their rivals.
“It’s a real shame what happened to Lance in Q2 because his pace looked good, but I’m sure he can recover in the race tomorrow and score points, which will be crucial in a close midfield battle,” said the Mexican. “It’s a good result today for me but qualifying isn’t so representative here.
“What matters is strong race pace, which I think we have, and it’ll be important to get a strong start and make good strategy calls. It looks like a two or three-stop race tomorrow, so there’s plenty to play for and the goal is to score big points.”
Stroll Rues ‘Miscommunication’ that Costs him Q3 Place
Team-mate Lance Stroll was an impressive second in Q1 but a miscommunication with his mechanics during the red flag in Q2 left him almost a second slower and eliminated.
The Canadian was sent out on track on a used set of medium compound tyres opposed to a new set, and ultimately, they were not good enough for him to make a challenge for the top ten. The Turkish Grand Prix pole sitter was ultimately left to qualify down in thirteenth place.
“We made some changes to the car after FP3 that really paid off and I was happy with the balance of the car going into qualifying, which we demonstrated in Q1 by going P2,” said Stroll. “Unfortunately, the red flag during Q2 ended up having a big impact on us.
“After the red flag, there was a miscommunication that cost us a potential place in Q3. We went out on a used set of mediums, when the rest of the field were on new tyres and it stopped us from having any chance of getting into Q3. We’ll review the situation tonight as a team, learn from it, and move on.”
Stroll feels the free choice of starting tyre may come out in their favour, and even from thirteenth on the grid, he believes points are a distinct possibility under the floodlights on Sunday evening.
“The positive to take is that from P13 on the grid we have a free tyre choice,” said Stroll. “It’s possible to overtake here and strategy is important, so we can make progress.
“We can aim for the points and I’m happy with the pace of the car, so it’s all to play for tomorrow in the race.”