Racing Point “surprised” with lack of pace in qualifying

Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were disappointed to only qualify eighth and ninth for the Belgian Grand Prix after some very strong performances in recent races. 

Perez and Stroll qualified fourth and fifth in Barcelona last time out and finished in those positions albeit the other way round.

In Spa they were surpassed by rivals Renault who now occupy fourth and sixth and Alex Albon who is fifth. Carlos Sainz will start seventh.

The drivers are unsure about today’s performance but are looking forward to the race with a threat of rain as nearly always in Spa.

Sergio Perez said after the session: “I was a bit surprised to only be P8, so we need to look over the data and figure out why we seemed to lose some pace today, because we weren’t as strong in FP3 or qualifying compared to yesterday.

“It was also really tight out there and the gaps between cars were very small.

“I don’t feel we were able to show our true pace and we struggled on the mediums in Q2.

“We know it’s going to be tight in the race tomorrow too, but I feel confident we will have good race pace.

“I think we can move forward and still score plenty of points.

“There’s going to be a bit of an unknown with the weather too, so we might need to react quickly if rain arrives for the race.”

Sergio Perez in Spa © Racing Point F1

Lance Stroll said: “We weren’t as competitive as we wanted to be today and we were expecting more.

“We tried to reach Q3 on the medium tyre, but it just wasn’t possible.

“In Q3 I lost two tenths on my best lap by locking up at the last chicane, which is a crucial part of the lap.

“When the grid is as tight as it was today, that’s costly and it meant I wasn’t able to improve on P9. It was a frustrating day, but now it’s about bouncing back tomorrow.

“We need to go away tonight and review because there’s a lot for us to analyse and improve to try to get back to the sort of pace we were showing on Friday.

“All in all, I think we’ll have solid race pace tomorrow and anything can happen – and there’s always the possibility of rain.

“We’re right in the mix and it’s going to be a close battle, so we can still fight for good points.”

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal of Racing Point summarised the day: “We had hoped to reach Q3 on the medium tyres, but with all the teams so closely-matched, we had to switch to the softs to progress.

“This left both drivers with just one set of the softs for Q3 and we chose to run early in the session.

“Our qualifying pace didn’t quite match our expectations from practice, so that’s something we need to understand going forward.

“It’s tomorrow that counts, though, and we’re certainly well placed to compete for good points.

“I’m optimistic that the race pace will be strong, but there’s a chance rain showers could influence the race too.”

The Belgian Grand Prix takes place tomorrow with Lewis Hamilton on pole looking for a fifth win of the season.