Perez: Stroll has stronger race pace than Ocon, Hulkenberg
Sergio Perez says Lance Stroll is already closer to him on race pace than any of his previous teammates, despite a relative lack of experience.
Stroll enjoyed a strong debut for his new team in Australia, recovering from being knocked out in Q1 to score two points for ninth place, while Perez made Q3 but slipped to 13th in the race.
Stroll showed stronger pace than Perez after the pitstops and the Mexican, who has shown himself to be particularly masterful at managing F1's delicate Pirelli tyres over race distances for several seasons now, says he's been surprised by Stroll's immediate strength in this area compared to previous teammates Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg.
"In a way Esteban and Nico were quite a similar approach and they always seemed to struggle a lot with race pace," Perez said.
"But with Lance, his race pace is, from all the teammates, the closest to mine.
"He's already, on Sundays, quite good. I was quite surprised because going for a long run I seemed to find it a bit easier with my previous teammates, but it's not the case now.
"He [Stroll] has a good understanding for Sundays. It's good, it's what you need to score points, especially with this tight midfield."
Perez reckons the impression Stroll has made on him so far highlights how difficult it is to judge the performance of a driver in a difficult car, following Stroll's mixed first two seasons in F1 with Williams.
"The surprise was already when we met Lance to see the speed – it just proves that it's so hard to judge someone," Perez added.
"It's so much related to your car performance in F1.
"He has the speed, the talent. He works hard. I think he's going to be constantly scoring points, which is great for the team.
"To finish fourth in the constructors you need both cars to score points every weekend.
"He got the maximum out of the car, together with the team and strategy [in Australia]. It's what we need from now to Abu Dhabi."
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