Perez rues red flag as Racing Point's pace disappears in wet conditions
Fastest in dry conditions in Friday's FP1, Sergio Perez was the surprise elimination of the opening segment of qualifying on Saturday. Afterwards the Mexican was left to rue his bad luck as his final effort to crack Q2 had to be aborted after Antonio Giovinazzi spun and then parked his Alfa Romeo - though in truth it hadn't looked like being Racing Point's day...
Perez qualified his Racing Point sixth last week at the Red Bull Ring, but he struggled at the same circuit this time around, qualifying 17th - four positions off his team mate Lance Stroll as neither of the pink cars made Q3. Wet conditions, cold tyres, and a red flag made the difference on Saturday, as Perez explained.
“I did struggle a lot with the generation of tyre temperature. It took me a lot - two to three laps - to get thew temperatures in," said Perez.
"Once I got them I was on a good lap - and then the red flag stopped that lap... I think in general, we did struggle a bit to generate the temperature that we needed for today’s session."
That red flag came at the wrong time for other drivers too, including Kimi Raikkonen who was eliminated in Q1 two tenths off safety. Lance Stroll, on the other hand, was perplexed as to why he finished 13th on Saturday.
“Yeah we looked competitive throughout qualifying and just at the end in Q2, lost a lot of grip, not sure why. We just have to look into it, and the others managed to improve and I was just going slower.”
Racing Point’s struggles in the wet make good reading for the likes of midfield rivals McLaren and Renault, both teams having had both of their drivers make it into Q3. And that includes Carlos Sainz who managed a career-best qualification of P3.
The only saving grace for Racing Point? They have a quick car in the dry - and Sunday's weather is looking much better.