Perez: Bahrain "exposing limitations" of Racing Point F1 car
Sergio Perez believes his Racing Point Formula 1 team is in for a "hard weekend" in Bahrain, as he feels the track is "exposing our limitations".
The Mexican was 14th in both Friday practice sessions at the Sakhir venue, ending the day 1.870s off the pace set by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
“It's not the greatest day,” Perez said at the conclusion of Friday running. “I think probably the circuit is exposing more our limitations at the moment.
“We seem to be further away than we were in Melbourne. We are working hard, hopefully tonight we can pick up a couple of tenths, a good balance, and hopefully we can be a bit closer.”
Perez admitted after Australia that Racing Point had not yet gotten the expected performance boost from the update package it had prepared for the start of the season.
He subsequently identified traction in low-speed corners, which are predominant in Bahrain, as the main weakness of the car at this point in the season.
Asked after FP2 by Motorsport.com whether he expected to unlock a lot more laptime from the RP19 for qualifying and the race, the Mexican said: “No, I don't think we have a lot of time in the pocket. We will see tonight if there is anything we can do.”
Perez had made the Q3 shoot-out in Melbourne, but believes a repeat is unlikely at the Sakhir venue.
“I don't expect us to be in Q3 tomorrow, unless like in Melbourne most of the teams get it wrong and then we can be there,” he said. “But it is looking like a hard weekend.
“[Making Q2] will be difficult. We really need to put everything together already in Q1, if we want to make it into Q2, and then as well a perfect Q2 to be able to be there.”
Lance Stroll agreed with his squadmate's assessment of Racing Point's Q3 chances in Bahrain.
“It [the car] needs some work,” Stroll said. “It's very competitive in that midfield, so we'll look for some speed tonight and come back in better form tomorrow.
“We need some speed, there's no doubt. It's tricky at the moment, to get into the top 10, that's for sure, looking at the timesheets.”
The Canadian was 18th in FP1 and 17th in FP2, his programme disrupted by a crash in the former session – as he spun exiting Turn 4 and tapped the inside barrier with the front wing of his RP19.
“Just got on the power a little bit early,” he explained. “First run, but every run counts.”
Red Bull blames soft-tyre struggles for subdued start
Hamilton: Bahrain competitive order unlike Australian GP