Perez stars for BWT Racing Point in Portugal despite troublesome start

Sergio Perez salvaged six valuable points for the BWT Racing Point team, partnered by Acronis, despite an early collision with Max Verstappen that sent the Mexican spinning off and to the back of the field.

From that unfortunate incident, Perez pitted immediately to repair damage to his front wing and change for the medium compound tyre, that allowed him to run for 44 laps and make some bold overtakes before switching to another set of used softs to finish the race.

It could have been even better had Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz not passed him on the final lap as the performance of his soft tyres fell away.

“When you consider how the race started, P7 is a very good result and we can be proud of the recovery,” said Perez afterward. The contact with Max [Verstappen] at the start was really unfortunate. The Mercedes at the front were struggling with the Mediums and Max was closing on them. I saw that Valtteri [Bottas] pushed Max wide and then he came back onto the track too aggressively causing a collision. It was then made worse by having a puncture and having to stop on the first lap. I had to drive to the pits with a big vibration too.

“We then ran a really strong stint on the mediums, which put us right back up towards the front, but the final stint on the soft tyres was tough. We probably lacked full knowledge of the soft – because the practice sessions were disrupted – and we weren’t able to protect against graining enough in the last stint, so [Pierre] Gasly and [Carlos] Sainz were able to get by at the end. Still, it’s some important points and we recovered well from being in last place after the first lap. I’m looking forward to racing at Imola next time out.”

Teammate Lance Stroll was also unfortunate to be involved in a collision with Lando Norris and was perhaps unfortunate that the stewards adjudged it to be his fault and handed him a penalty. Regardless, the damage was such that the Canadian had no chance of finishing in the points and so retirement was the sensible option.

“It’s a real shame to have retired from the race because our pace was strong and we made progress in the first stint to have a real shot at good points today It was an awkward coming together with Lando [Norris],” said Stroll. “I was waiting to see if he would go left or right, but he stayed towards the middle of the track at Turn 1. That meant I had a split-second to decide what to do and I chose the outside and went over the kerb a little. When I turned in, I felt I was ahead, but there wasn’t space for two cars.

“After the collision, the car was damaged and it wasn’t possible to continue, so we had to retire. Putting aside the result, I really enjoyed the circuit and I,” said Stroll. “would love to see it on the Formula 1 calendar in the future. Today was one of those days to forget, so my focus is now entirely on Imola and turning the corner there.”

Fraser Masefield

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.