Sergio Perez and the BWT Racing Point team, partnered by Acronis, were left to rue a missed opportunity of a very realistic podium in the Emilia Romagna GP after the team opted to pit under the late Safety Car.
Perez was running strongly behind the leaders when Max Verstappen suffered his right rear tyre failure to bring out the Safety Car, but the decision to pit for fresh soft Pirelli rubber rather than stay out on the hard compound tyre ultimately proved decisive.
“It was clear that today we had the podium in our pocket and I’m disappointed we missed out,” said Perez. “It’s easy to be critical with the benefit of hindsight, but ultimately we should have tried staying out and keeping track position. However, I don’t want to be critical of my team; the important thing is that we learn the lesson for next time.
Regardless of that late decision, Perez still made up five positions from his starting grid slot of P11, his sixth place finish meaning that the team still lies P05 in the constructors’ standings and with only a point separating themselves with third-placed Renault and level on points with McLaren.
“We still put in a great performance to go from P11 and into P6 to score some really strong points,” added Perez. “It was clear in the race that it was very tough to overtake and we still managed to improve with a tremendous first stint on the medium tyres – and it was a good decision to pit when we did [on lap 27] to gain three places. It was very close to being the perfect race for us today. We will keep pushing and we’re looking forward to returning to Turkey next time out.”
It was again unfortunate that Racing Point couldn’t get both cars home in the points, Lance Stroll involved in an unfortunate collision with Esteban Ocon, meaning he had to pit for a new front wing and compromising his race.
“A challenging afternoon that didn’t end quite as we had hoped, despite scoring eight important points. Sergio was well placed to finish on the podium after Max [Verstappen] retired, but, with the benefit of hindsight, we shouldn’t have pitted and instead tried staying out on the hard tyre,” reflected Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal. “We chose to pit because we were concerned it would be difficult to switch on the hard tyres after the safety car.
“Unfortunately, George Russell’s crash resulted in an extended safety car and gave Sergio even less laps to use his tyre advantage. In the end, he had to settle for sixth place. For Lance, his race was pretty much over on lap one after the contact with Ocon, which broke the front wing. He had to pit and was playing catch up all afternoon, which made it difficult to score points.”
— BWT Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) November 1, 2020