Perez says he’s ‘put everything together for the race’ as he prepares for back-row start in final Racing Point outing
Sergio Perez’s last qualifying session as a Racing Point driver was a bit of a non-event for the Mexican, who will start Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the back of the field after taking on new power unit elements. But with P3 in the constructors’ championship, and P4 in the drivers’, still up for grabs, Perez was nonetheless targeting big points in the 2020 season finale.
Following on from his sensational maiden victory a week ago in Sakhir – which saw him win despite having been in last place at the end of Lap 1 – a change of internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H for Perez on Friday morning meant that the Mexican came into the weekend knowing he would start from the back of the grid in Sunday’s race.
But armed with that knowledge, Perez said he’d dedicated himself to finding an optimum set-up for the race, on a weekend where Racing Point could claim P3 in the constructors’ – leading McLaren and Renault as they do by 12 and 22 points respectively – while Perez himself holds P4 in the drivers’ standings, 13 points clear of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
“We’ve put everything together for the race,” said Perez, whose team mate Lance Stroll will start P8, while Perez made it through Q1 before deciding against setting a time in Q2. “We’ve focused on every single bit, so we’ll see what we are able to do. But a lot of things can happen.
“We have a lot of things to lose tomorrow,” he added. “It still requires a very good race from our side. We have to make sure we get into the points – well into them, because the battle in the championship is very, very tight so we have to make sure that we have a strong race tomorrow and make as much progress as we possibly can.”
Meanwhile, having joined Racing Point back in their Force India days in 2014, Perez will now prepare for his final race with the team he’s spent the past seven seasons with. And while there was still much work ahead of him on Sunday, Perez admitted that the emotions were starting to heighten ahead of his last appearance in pink.
“I’m just starting to realise things are coming to an end,” said Perez. “We just did our final qualifying in our history, so tomorrow will be a bit emotional I guess.
“Hopefully tomorrow we can recover as much as possible,” added Perez, when asked if he thought a repeat of his last-to-first performance from Sakhir might be possible. “We have to do something different. We have to use our car pace tomorrow, try to get as much free air as possible and see where we end up. I think here will be a bit different [to the Sakhir Grand Prix] – but you never know.”