F1 SAKHIR GP – PEREZ BAFFLED BY LOST PERFORMANCE
Despite their powerful Mercedes engine – and Mercedes inspired RP20 car – being expected to suit the high-speed Sakhir circuit, Racing Point ended Saturday just P5 and P10 in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Sergio Perez at a loss to explain their lack of pace when it came to the crunch in Q3.
Checo took an impressive P5 on the grid for Formula 1’s first-ever Sakhir Grand Prix, while Lance battled damage to take P10 and ensure both cars made it into the Top 10.
Perez was on course for his second podium finish in a row in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix but suffered a power unit failure in the closing laps.
Racing Point was forced to resort to using older parts within its engine allocation for the season and the Mexican believes this enforced decision is costing him lap time as he was beaten to fourth place by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in qualifying.
“I think it’s about where we ended up, I don’t think there was much in it,” Perez said. “Given the age of the engine I’m running here after I lost my fresh engine in the last race, I think we are being penalised by it. It’s going to be a hard race for us tomorrow, here straight-line speed is crucial, to be able to race and to pass, so still a lot to play for tomorrow and hopefully, we can score some good points and hopefully bring the engine home.
“It’s tricky, it’s very difficult to put everything together in so little corners, half a tenth on your driving is like two tenths in other places, so as a driver, you can probably do more of a difference, but I don’t think it will be good for racing. I hope I’m wrong, but I just think it’s going to be a train of cars doing a shuffle.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s race, Perez doubts overtaking will be easy given the short nature of the circuit.
“I still believe after the first stop, overtaking can be hard, but maybe at that point, there’s a big tyre advantage so it becomes a bit easier, still a lot of unknowns, certainly on Friday it wasn’t easy to overtake,” Perez added.
Stroll could only manage tenth in qualifying but the Canadian revealed afterwards he suffered floor damage in Q2, which impacted the handling of his Racing Point.
“We had a broken floor after Q2, so we lost a load on the rear, lost a lot of lap time in Q3.”
Explaining the cause of the damage, he added: “Bit of exit kerb out of eight, but it wasn’t so harsh. I don’t know what, I mean I do know what happened. It’s a shame because it wasn’t really a lot of exit kerb, and it just destroyed the whole floor. Really bad for lap time, but that just sucks, because we had a lot more pace.”
F1 SAKHIR GP – PEREZ BAFFLED BY LOST PERFORMANCE F1 SAKHIR GP – PEREZ BAFFLED BY LOST PERFORMANCE
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