Perez eyeing podium finish at Monza

Jamie Woodhouse

Otmar Szafnauer insists Racing Point will be unaffected by the new FIA rules introduced following this year’s ‘copying’ controversy.

Sergio Perez believes he and Racing Point are “definitely in the fight” for a podium finish at the Italian Grand Prix.

The Belgian Grand Prix was a tough race weekend for Racing Point at a venue where they have traditionally been strong with Perez finishing P10, one place behind team-mate Lance Stroll.

And whilst Monza is another high-speed circuit, of course known as the ‘Temple of Speed’, those struggles from a week ago seem to have lifted for Perez.

He would put his RP20 P4 on the grid for Sunday’s race, matching his best starting position of the season, and now he has his eyes firmly fixed on a podium position.

That being said, P4 was a surprise to the Mexican racer.

“It’s a good start for us tomorrow, so hopefully we can have a strong start,” he told reporters at Monza.

“Everything we have done, we’ve been focusing a lot onto the race, so I think tomorrow we are definitely in the fight for the podium.

“We are surprised. We were not expecting this step in qualifying. Everything we have done has been focusing on the race, so we should be having strong race pace throughout the race.

“We were not so strong throughout the weekend. “I think the team has done a fantastic job, working our way through.

“They executed a fantastic qualifying, session by session we took some steps. To be up there in a good position means we can definitely be in the fight for the podium.”

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Perez’s team-mate Stroll is comfortably enjoying his strongest season to date in Formula 1 this year, but he was left disappointed to be starting the race from P8.

“It was not so good,” he said when asked about his performance in Q3.

“There were definitely some positions lost out today, so frustrated about it.”

Stroll was asked to explain the areas which he was struggling in, and the Canadian gave a simple answer.

“Just putting it all together. [I made] mistakes. It was not a good session for us,” he said.

Perez will share the second row with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, the only driver between him and a bottle of champagne with a shiny trophy.

Perez will be chasing a ninth visit to the podium, while a top-three finish for Sainz would score him a second career podium.

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