Sergio Perez: Safety car cost a chance on the podium

( – Sergio Perez is satisfied but not satisfied after the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. “It seemed to be a bad day for the general classification, but it turned out to be a good one,” said the Racing Point driver. And in his opinion it could have gone even better: In the closing stages, Perez had fought for third place with Daniel Ricciardo.

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez: In the end it was “only” enough for P4 and not for a podium



The gap between Perez in P4 and Ricciardo in P3 was almost 17 seconds shortly after the half of the race. And then Perez gradually caught up: ten laps later, he was only ten seconds behind. He thinks: He would have made up for the rest. A yellow phase from lap 45 onwards stopped Perez and his advantage with fresher tires.

He says: “Without the safety car we would have had a really good chance. We caught up with Daniel pretty quickly. The car worked really well and I was happy with the medium tires. In the end it would have been very tight.”

No real chance of overtaking Ricciardo

As it was, however, Perez failed to prove whether his Racing Point RP20 could have rivaled the Renault R.S. 20 on the track. The only attempt to overtake directly after the safety car phase failed: “When I restarted I tried against Daniel in Turn 4. But that didn’t work,” says Perez.

After that he stayed with Ricciardo, but was no longer within DRS range and did not have another chance to overtake. Perez finally crossed the finish line 1.457 seconds behind Ricciardo – and he is annoyed about it.

Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer is satisfied. “Sergio had a chance on the podium,” he explains. “P4 is still an outstanding result for the team.”

Driving through would not have been possible

Especially since the command center and Perez were at odds about what would be the best tire tactic after the safety car phase.

“We stayed outside at first,” says Perez. “Then I asked the team whether we were really safe. Because I didn’t think I could get the tires to work again under these conditions. The tires wouldn’t have packed that.”

In the end, Racing Point decided on a pit stop and against driving through on used tires. “Fortunately,” as Perez remarks, even if he couldn’t do anything with it. “All in all,” he says, “it was a good day for the team because we scored a lot of points.”

Praise for Hulkenberg

Perez expressly praises his spontaneous team-mate Nico Hülkenberg, who as substitute for Lance Stroll “did a fantastic job” with eighth place.

Perez didn’t say anything about his personal future, instead quipping a TV reporter’s question: “Maybe I’ll be your teammate next year!”

Seriously, Perez added, “I think in the next month or so I’ll know exactly what I’m going to do. I want to keep racing in Formula 1. It’s a priority, but it should be a good project.”

Szafnauer thinks a good project is going on this year: In view of the starting situation on Saturday with a sick driver and poor prospects for the race, it is “very satisfactory to leave Germany with 16 more points and P3 in the overall standings”.

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