Perez expecting level playing field at Portimao

Finley Crebolder
Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez says he expects there to be something of a level playing field at Portimao due to each driver’s lack of running at the track.

The upcoming Portuguese Grand Prix will be the first time Formula 1 has ever headed to Portimao for a race weekend and will be the debut for many drivers there.

After that, the sport heads to another new track for most of the grid, Imola, and Perez thinks that such unfamiliarity will shake things up.

“I think it will,” he said when asked whether he feels everyone’s lack of experience will even things up.

“We’re in the middle of a run of unfamiliar races now. We hadn’t raced at the Nürburgring for a long time until the last race, Portimão is totally new to F1, and we have Imola coming up.

“It’s unusual to have a run of races on tracks we don’t know well. As a driver, I enjoy that feeling. It’s always more of a challenge to race on a new circuit for the first time.

“I hope it can help mix things up and make for an exciting race for the fans.”

Perez does at least have some experience of the track in Portugal. However, given it was over a decade ago, he doesn’t have too many memories of it.

“I drove there in GP2 back in 2009, but it was a long time ago and I don’t remember too much of the circuit!” he added.

“So it almost feels like going back to a totally new track. It’s going to be an exciting challenge for us all to try and get up to speed with it as quickly as we can.

“I speak a little bit of Portuguese, but I’ve not really spent time there. I think when the world is a bit more normal I will visit and experience the Algarve properly.”

His team-mate Lance Stroll, on the other hand, raced there far more recently. However, he says that, even so, the layout was different when he drove it.

“I raced there in European Formula 3 and I remember there being lots of elevation changes. It was also quite bumpy, but it’s now been repaved ahead of the Grand Prix,” he said.

“Regardless, the quick parts and elevation will really test drivers and I think it will be exciting to watch on TV.”

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