Russian GP: “Anything can happen” – Perez

Sergio Perez achieved a second row start for the Russian Grand Prix tomorrow, just pipping the very fast Daniel Ricciardo who had been ahead all weekend.

“I’m very happy with our performance today: I think P4 was the maximum I could achieve because Max and the two Mercedes were very strong out there.” said Sergio Perez. “We were able to qualify ahead of our nearest rivals, which is the main thing.

“It was a really tough session because the wind kept changing and we had the disruption of the red flag too [because of Sebastian Vettel’s crash]. It’s a credit to the team that we were able to manage the sessions so well and extract the maximum from the car.”

Perez and his Racing Point have shown high quality pace in Sochi. Race pace and quali pace were very fast in Friday practice for Perez who was consistently faster than teammate Lance Stroll in every session. His pace was rivalling that of Max Verstappen in the Red Bull who qualified in second but Perez thinks any progression in the race will be tough.

“A podium could be difficult to achieve here, but anything can happen at the start with the long run to Turn 2. If we make a strong start and manage the tyres well, I think we can fight for a good result tomorrow.”

Lance Stroll did not progress out of Q2 being caught out by an overheating issue under the red flag being unable to progress to a second run. He will start in 13th.

“It was a tough day. We were all set for the final few minutes of Q2 and raring to go after the red flag. Sadly, the engine was overheating while we were in the fast lane so we took the precaution of switching off the car. It’s frustrating because we’ve made it into Q3 consistently this year.

“I’ve not quite found my rhythm here yet; I just need to put together the finer details and come back stronger tomorrow. It’s not easy to overtake here, but we have a quick race car. If we can get a good start and make some early progress, then it’s all to play for in terms of points.”