For BWT Racing Point Formula One Team, the Russian Grand Prix was a tale of two halves, with Sergio Pérez bringing the car home in fourth place and Lance Stroll retiring from the race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Having qualified in fourth, Pérez got a clean getaway at the start, on what was a dramatic first lap, losing two places to the Renault DP World F1 Team cars of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, however the Mexican managed to reclaim fourth place where he remained to the flag.
Pérez was pleased with his result, despite a rather lonely race, saying: “It was a lonely race out there! We got the absolute maximum out of the car today and P4 was the best result we could achieve, so I’m very happy.
“We knew the start would be difficult on the dirty side of the grid, but I was disappointed to lose two places to the Renaults off the line. I think we were very similar on pace to them, so the fact we were able to conserve the tyre so well in the opening stint and get back ahead of them was crucial – and we did a great job to execute that strategy.”
On the other hand, Stroll had a frustrating end to his race. Qualifying in thirteenth place meant the Canadian had some work to do to claim a solid points haul, but had the advantage of choosing his tyres for the start of the race. Stroll’s race came to a premature end on the opening lap after contact with Charles Leclerc, left him in a wall. Leclerc’s Ferrari clipped his right rear tyre sending the Canadian spinning into a wall.
This incident marked a second retirement in a row for Stroll, who was clearly unhappy at the “sloppy” move from Leclerc, after having climbed to seventh place from thirteenth.
“I’m very surprised that he didn’t get a penalty because I left him plenty of room and he could have avoided making contact by not going so wide on the exit,” said Stroll. “I was on the edge of the track and couldn’t have done more to avoid him, so I’m disappointed that a careless move cost us a potentially good result.”
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer, shared Stroll’s frustrations at the opening lap incident adding: “It’s a massive shame because he had made a superb start and was already up in P7 right behind Checo. Given the pace of the car, it’s frustrating that Lance couldn’t score the points he deserved today.”
Both Pérez and Stroll are looking ahead to the next race, the Eifel Grand Prix, at the Nürburgring in two weekends time.
Pérez hopes his upgrades will come in time for then, commenting: “We can go into the next race on a real high, and I’m looking forward to getting the upgrade soon and aiming for more great results in the coming races. We have a strong car this year and I’m enjoying driving it.”
Racing Point leaves the Russian Grand Prix with 104 points in the Constructors Championship, where they remain fourth place in the standings behind McLaren F1 Team.