Sergio Pérez says he is optimistic about his chances of a strong result in this weekends Sakhir Grand Prix after a strong display during Fridays’ two practice sessions at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The BWT Racing Point Formula One Team racer was only twelfth in the first session but was up in third in the second, although the Mexican says putting a lap together and getting everything right over a lap in Qualifying will be crucial with how tight the field is around the outer circuit of the Bahraini circuit.
“I’m optimistic about our chances this weekend after a positive day on track,” said Pérez. “I think we can aim for a strong result, but today has really shown just how close qualifying is going to be.
“The margins will be tight and that means putting everything together over a single lap is going to be crucial.”
Pérez says learning the new layout at the Bahrain International Circuit was a ‘challenge’, with the kerbs in the middle sector in particularly being ‘quite aggressive’. However, it is that middle sector where the Mexican feels it will be make or break when it comes to Qualifying on Saturday evening.
“It was a challenge taking on the new layout today: the middle sector is particularly tricky because the kerbs are quite aggressive,” said Pérez. “It’s tempting to use them but it’s so easy to make a mistake if you misjudge it.
“I think we’ll see plenty of lap times deleted and see some errors over the weekend, so it’s important to minimise the chances of making a mistake. The whole lap is a challenge too, even though there’s not many corners overall – so getting the middle sector right is very important.”
“I think we learned a lot about how the weekend will develop” – Lance Stroll
Team-mate Lance Stroll edged out Pérez in the first session in eleventh, but whereas the Mexican gained more than eight-tenths of a second in the second session, the Canadian could only find four tenths and ended up seventh.
Never-the-less, the Canadian says they learned a lot on Friday about what to expect across the rest of the weekend, and with gaps incredibly tight from front to back, he knows avoiding traffic and getting a clear run in Qualifying will be key to a good spot on the starting grid.
“It was really close out there today with small gaps between all the cars,” said Stroll. “I think we learned a lot about how the weekend will develop and how the race will play out.
“Turn 8 is going to be a big factor tomorrow and we’ll probably see a lot of lap times deleted, so the key will be staying close to the limit. We managed the challenge of having a lot of traffic on such a short lap well today, but I expect that’s going to be even more tricky in qualifying when everyone is searching for free air.
“Qualifying will be very important tomorrow because it was more difficult to overtake than we expected. It could end up being a track position race. All things considered, it was a good day’s work and I’m confident in the car for Saturday and Sunday.”