Perez ‘very confident, regardless of conditions' after strong Friday for Racing Point in Hungary
As the only team to get within a second of Mercedes in the dry Free Practice 1 session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were buoyed by their performance on a ‘very positive’ Friday for the team at the Hungaroring.
Perez lapped within 0.527s of Hamilton’s leading time in Free Practice 1, finishing P3 in the session, as Stroll finished P4, 0.437s further back – the two Racing Points continuing to show impressive pace in the dry, as they beat the likes of Red Bull, McLaren, Renault and Ferrari.
However, after a poor wet qualifying at last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, which saw Perez start the race P17 before rising to sixth by the chequered flag, it was what the team achieved with their handful of laps in the sodden FP2 session that had really cheered Perez on Friday.
“It was a good day because we managed to get some wet running, get the confidence back after the poor qualifying last weekend we had in the wet,” said Perez. “We did a good step. I think we understood our weakness last weekend, so I think we managed to do a good step in the wet.
“So that’s very positive from today. And I’m just very confident for tomorrow, regardless of conditions.”
Stroll echoed his team mate’s ‘come rain or shine’ outlook, telling the media on Friday evening: “The car felt pretty good in the wet, and in the dry this morning we looked strong, so good stuff… I think we were pretty competitive from the get-go. There wasn’t much running this afternoon which was a shame but looking forward to tomorrow.”
Hungary has been something of a bogey track for both Racing Point drivers in recent years, with Stroll having never qualified higher than 17th here, while Perez has failed to reach Q3 since joining the Racing Point squad in their Force India guise back in 2014.
But asked whether both Q3 and, on Sunday, a shot at a podium was on the cards, Perez replied: “I think that should be the target, to be well into the Q3, and then get a good spot in Q3… [For the podium] we’ll see where we start tomorrow. I think tomorrow is the first step and then we’ll see what happens on Sunday.”
The Racing Point team were operating on Friday amid ongoing rumblings about the legality of their RP20, meanwhile, with Renault having lodged a formal protest against the car at last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, based primarily on the resemblance of the RP20’s front and rear brake ducts with those of last year’s Mercedes W10.