Perez: P6 good, but should have been better

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez PA

Sergio Perez confident of points again in Austria.

Sergio Perez is satisfied with his P6 finish, but understandably felt that his RP20 was capable of a better result.

That ‘pink Mercedes’ has looked mighty so far in Austria as many had predicted, and Perez was staring down a podium finish at the Red Bull Ring.

But it was a chaotic race, and Perez was left regretting the decision not to pit under the last Safety Car.

His five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane didn’t help much either as the Mexican finished the race P6, the position he had started from.

Speaking after the race to the Racing Point website, he said: “We had to fight hard today and we had strong pace.

“Sixth place is a good way to start the season, but we could have finished even higher. We were unlucky with the safety cars, but it’s easy to say after the race that we should have pitted a second time.

“I had to defend from drivers on fresher tyres in the final laps, which was a challenge. However, this was a good race to learn plenty about the car and our performance.

“The main positive is that we have a competitive package and I think we can be fighting for another strong result here next week.”

Perez’s team-mate Lance Stroll didn’t have the luxury of fighting for points.

A loss of power forced him to retire from the race in the early stages, despite him making every attempt to correct it.

“It was a good start to the race, but then I began to lose power early on.

“We tried to make some changes to various settings, but eventually we had to retire the car. We’ll look into the problem and come back stronger next time.

‍“The car felt good at first and I think our pace would have been strong. We could have scored a good amount of points today.”

CEO & Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer defended the team’s strategy, saying those behind could have reacted either way.

“After such a long break from racing, it was important to start our season with a handful of points with Sergio in sixth place,” he confirmed.

“It’s frustrating to see a podium slip away in the final few laps, but it was difficult to hold off those cars with a tyre advantage. With so many safety car interruptions, we had some difficult decisions to make and we chose to preserve track position rather than pit. The cars behind us effectively had free pit stops and could react to what we did – pitting when we chose to stay out.

“That was certainly the case with the McLarens and Leclerc. It was disappointing to see Lance retire early when the car started to lose power. The investigation is underway on what caused that, but ultimately, after attempting to fix the problem through mode changes failed, protecting the power unit was the priority.”

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