F1 France qualifying: Racing Point struggling to find a good balance with Perez 14th and Stroll 18th
ALTHOUGH THE TEAM PROGRESSED IN FP3 WITH PERFORMANCE, COULD NOT IMPROVE IN QUALIFYING
Racing Point has been facing a tough weekend so far with the balance of their F1 machine. Except for Friday morning where both cars placed in the top 13, the performance has been lacking in combination of other teams finding the better set-up.
In FP3 this morning, Perez and Stroll improved on yesterday’s time and more so for Stroll as he ended within 2 tenths of his teammate.
When it came down to qualifying, Stroll missed the cut by less than three tenths of a second where Perez pulled a rabbit out of his hat by ending a surprising sixth. The difference between the fastest Q1 time of Valtteri Bottas(1:30.550) and Lance Stroll in 18th(1:31.726) was 1.176 seconds.
Interviewed shortly after coming out of his car, Stroll was also surprised at where Perez finished as both had been within two tenths of each other most of the weekend so far; Perez finding an extra half a second in Q1. “I’m quite disappointed with that”, Stroll said of his Q1 time. “I felt like I did a good lap with the grip that was available under me, but that’s pretty much where we have been throughout practice. Definitely a frustrating day, but my sights are set on tomorrow. We always look stronger with our race pace and I will give it my all on Sunday.”
“We have struggled to find the sweet spot with the cars this weekend and ultimately didn’t challenge for Q3”, said Otmar Szafnauer. “Both cars made a good step forward compared to final practice, but this track just isn’t playing to our strengths. It’s frustrating not to be quicker in qualifying trim, but we looked more competitive with the long runs on Friday and we know we can race well on Sundays. We will study the strategy options tonight, mindful of the fact that this track is especially demanding on the front tyres, and see what we can do to move up the order tomorrow.”
While starting in 14th for Perez and Stroll 18th for tomorrow’s race to finish in the points is still possible but tire strategy will play a big role during the race as ambient temperatures have been much warmer than anticipated thus far this weekend.
Image: Racing Point F1