‘We got our tyre strategy wrong’ says Racing Point's Perez after P9 in Eifel GP qualifying
Sergio Perez may have qualified a respectable ninth on the grid for Sunday's Eifel Grand Prix, but the Mexican was frustrated after the session and said he and the team had made mistakes with their tyre strategy.
Perez finally has the fully updated Racing Point car this weekend, after missing out on the new parts at the last two races as the team only had enough to run them on his team mate Lance Stroll's car.
And with the upgraded RP20 at his disposal the 30-year-old racer got through to Q3 for the seventh race in a row, ending up ninth quickest on a weekend when all the drivers were restricted to just one practice session, after Friday's running was abandoned because of bad weather at the Nurburgring.
But after the session he said he and the team should have played things more cleverly when it came to his tyre usage.
"In these windy conditions it was very, very hard. I think we got the strategy with the tyres a bit wrong," he said.
"We tried to qualify [in Q1] with the medium, which meant that we were so far behind that we had to go with the soft, and I only had one set of softs in Q3 and I think the track changed quite a bit in that final run, with the wind, [it] was pretty hard. It just made things a lot harder.
"We were expecting a bit more graining. We were trying to go through on the mediums but we were obviously too slow today."
But despite his tyre worries, Perez is raring to go for Sunday's race, which is likely to be run in the coolest conditions seen at a Grand Prix for years.
"It’s going to be an exciting race, given that we don’t really know what to expect with the tyres," he said. "I think pretty much everybody inside the top ten went through on the soft tyre, so it will be interesting."
If there are unknowns for Perez going into the race, there are plenty more for his new temporary team mate Nico Hulkenberg, who took over for the unwell Lance Stroll with just a few hours notice before qualifying began, and will line up 20th on the grid after turning his very first laps of the weekend in Q1.