I was 'very lucky' to only lose one position on final lap admits Perez after Albon clash
From P17 on the grid to P6 at the flag, your Driver of The Day Sergio Perez pulled off a masterful recovery drive in the Styrian Grand Prix that puts him fourth in the drivers’ championship for Racing Point – but it almost went very wrong on the penultimate lap of the race…
Having started well down the grid after a wet qualifying session that stifled Racing Point’s normally impressive pace, Perez was already 13th by the end of the Safety Car period triggered by Ferrari’s double-retirement, and then picked off the likes of Pierre Gasly and team mate Lance Stroll to make his way up to fourth by Lap 38 when he pitted for softs.
After his stop he was rapid on the medium tyres and retook places from Stroll and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo before he began to put pressure on Red Bull’s Alex Albon for P4. He took his chance on the penultimate lap at Turn 4 – but it didn’t quite go to plan.
Drivers' standings after Styria
|4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari||18|
|5 Sergio Perez Racing Point||16|
|6 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing||15|
|7 Carlos Sainz McLaren||13|
“I was pushing really hard on Albon I didn’t have opportunity other than the one I took," he said.
"And unfortunately I touched [his wheel] at the wrong angle and that meant... basically I understeered a bit towards the exit [of Turn 4], I’m opening up the steering wheel while picking up the power and then I broke the half front wing. I was very lucky to [only] lose one position from that,” he explained.
After breaking his front wing, Perez slowed and was passed by Norris for P5 on the final corner of the last lap before Stroll drag-raced him to the line. Only 0.066s split the two with Perez finishing sixth at the flag, Stroll seventh, and Daniel Ricciardo another 0.142s off in eighth.
“I think it was a great recovery, great pace from the car," he added. "I think the team did a fantastic strategy. We were all the way to P5, nearly P4 at the end."
Now, Perez is looking to the Hungaroring where he thinks Racing Point can make another huge push for double-points on July 12.
“I think we made a pretty good step from last weekend to this one. Obviously the car is pretty new in a lot of areas, we changed the concept totally so were learning from it so I think there was good understanding from it and we are definitely looking forward to Hungary,” he concluded.
However, there is a cloud over Racing Point's double points finish in Austria, after Renault lodged a formal protest with the Styrian Grand Prix officials concerning the legality of the team's RP20 car, over its apparent similarity to last year's Mercedes W10.