Racing Points come home ‘best of the rest’ in Spain

The BWT Racing Point team, partnered by Acronis, cemented its growing reputation as ‘best of the rest’ behind the dominant Mercedes and Red Bull outfits by coming home fourth and fifth after a strong Spanish Grand Prix showing.

Drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll started from fourth and fifth on the grid respectively, but it was Canadian Stroll who got the better launch off the line, even rocketing past Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes and up to third at the start.

From then on, he maintained his strong race pace on a two-stop strategy, switching from the soft red-banded Pirelli tyre to the mediums after 27 laps before pitting again for a final set of softs 23 laps from the end and coming home fourth.

“I had a great launch off the line and I was able to pass Checo and the Mercedes of Bottas, which set me up for a good race,” said Stroll in his team’s post-race debrief. “It was a great feeling to race a few laps in third, even if we knew we weren’t racing the Mercedes – P4 was the maximum today. It was good to battle with Checo on track for a bit too, even if it probably gave Otmar a few more grey hairs! We changed to a two-stop in the race, but I was able to make up places, and I managed to overtake Vettel late on, and I gained a place through Checo’s penalty too.

“Today was all about managing the tyres, which was difficult in the heat – but we made it work. The dark clouds arriving late in the race were a nice relief from the sun! The team did a great job today and I’m happy we scored some big points. I’m excited to get to Spa now because the track should suit our car and we can aim for more points.”

It had looked to be a very close fight between the teammates by the finish with Perez actually holding position over Stroll with his alternate one-stop strategy. But the Mexican’s chances of a fourth place finish evaporated when he seemed to receive a harsh five second penalty for failing to adhere to blue flags and let race leader Lewis Hamilton by, when the opportunity to do so didn’t seem there at the time.

“I had a difficult start today and lost a place to Lance, but we were able to recover and have a strong race. I think it was on the edge to make a one-stop work, but we managed to do it, which took a lot of tyre management, and great work from the team to make it happen,” added Perez. “It was also fun to battle Lance, but the priority was to save the tyres. I’m disappointed to have got a five seconds time penalty: I don’t think it was fair considering the first opportunity I had to get out of Lewis’s way was into Turn 1. But the main thing is that we were able to hold onto P5, and we scored a lot of points for the team today. It’s been a positive comeback for me, and I want to thank the team for their help in getting me back up to speed so quickly.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.