Perez hoping set-up compromise pays off in race as he makes rare Q2 exit in Imola
For only the second time this season – and the first time in the dry – Sergio Perez failed in his mission to make it through to Q3 in qualifying. But rather than being disappointed, the Racing Point star was optimistic about his chances in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, saying his car set-up was more angled to Sunday than Saturday…
You have to go back to the wet Styrian Grand Prix qualifying in July to find the last time Sergio Perez took part in qualifying and failed to make it to the top 10 shootout, but on a day when team mate Lance Stroll could only manage P15 in the sister RP20, Perez was pleased to be P11 – especially as it gives him the option to start on the arguably more favourable medium tyres.
“It’s a shame [to get knocked out early], but hopefully the free tyre choice can give us an opportunity – I definitely prefer to be P11 than P10," he explained.
“In that regard I’m happy also with my lap, we just compromised a bit too much on race set-up for qualifying, so hopefully that can pay us some good dividends tomorrow.”
Racing Point are, of course, locked in a tense battle with McLaren and Renault for third place in the constructors’ standings, with a two-point lead over the former and six point lead over the latter.
With that in mind, Perez says it’s now up to him to execute perfectly, as he looks to extend a seven-race points streak.
“A good start, good strategy and good tyre management on that first stint will be key,” he said.
“We don’t expect the soft to be so good. Obviously tomorrow anything can happen. [Starting out of the top 10] might turn out to be a good thing.”