Perez on P5 quali: 'We changed the car upside down'


Sergio Perez says he owes his P5 performance in qualifying in Portugal to his team changing his car "upside down" overnight after being lost on Friday.

Like many of its rivals, Racing Point struggled with set-up issues on the opening day of running at the Algarve International Circuit, with Perez failing to strike the right balance for his RP20 while also being challenged by the track's slippery tarmac.

But drastic changes overnight proved productive on Saturday, leaving the Mexican a promising fifth on Sunday's grid.

"In those difficult conditions today it was good," Perez said. "A good performance by the team.

"Yesterday we were so lost, we changed the car upside down - the tyre preparation and everything. I think we’ve done a pretty good job to come back, being there. It’s a nice position to start the race."

Behind Mercedes and Red Bull, the battle is raging for third in the Constructors' championship between Racing Point, McLaren and Renault.

Perez reckons strategy and tyre management will make or break Racing Point's race day.

"I think outside of the Mercedes and the Red Bull, we are all very together, very much in that mix,” said the Mexican.

"As we saw in Nurburgring, we have to be there, to maximise the performance tomorrow, do a good strategy.

"I think most of the people don’t have information on the long runs so we don’t know what to expect with these tyres, this track. Still, a lot to play for.

"I think it’s going to be a race of people probably getting the tyres too hot early on and having to pit probably because I expect a lot of the guys have been aggressive with the re-heating levels, the preparation of the tyres."

The only slight negative for Perez to take away from Saturday's qualifying is an inconsequential reprimand handed to the Racing Point charger by the stewards for impeding AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly in the afternoon session.

The warning is Perez's first reprimand of the 2020 season.

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