Perez: Tyre management in first stint 'made our race'

Sergio Perez followed up his P4 result in qualifying with a solid run to fourth in Sunday's Russian... The post Perez: Tyre management in first stint 'made our race' appeared first on F1i.com.

Perez: Tyre management in first stint 'made our race'

Sergio Perez followed up his P4 result in qualifying with a solid run to fourth in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix, thanks in large part to some skillful tyre management during his first stint.

The Racing Point driver suffered a laborious launch off the grid, caused by a lack of grip, and settled in sixth before a superb attack on Renault's Daniel Ricciardo moved him to fifth.

Perez then gained another position at the conclusion of the pit stop rotations. But the Mexican's opening 23-lap stint on the soft compound was the defining element of his run to P4.

"Apart from the start, everything was good," he said. "That side of the grid was totally no grip at all.

"As soon as I released the clutch, I went straight into wheel spin, I lost the position to the two Renaults.

"Luckily, I think we did a very good management on that soft tyre on the first stint and that basically made our race.

"We were very close to Ricciardo - one tenth slower or faster, we were more or less there, we were never going to overtake them. But that first stint, the management was pretty key to our race."

Perez's performance at Sochi was achieved without the upgrades that were implemented on teammate Lance Stroll's car at Mugello. The Mexican hopes to also finally benefit from the package at the Eifel Grand Prix in two weeks.

"Definitely I think we did a good step; the team is working really hard to try and get my car [fitted with the upgrades] for the Nurburgring.

"When you see this is the maximum we can do and we finish 30 seconds from Bottas, if we are able to find a half a second, we can be in the mix for the podium."

  • Read also: Racing Point 'surprised' by Perez 'strange' comments

Perez is a fan of the Nürburgring, but isn't sure what to expect in terms of weather when F1 visits the German track next month.

"It's a track I like - I have to make sure that I go to the Nordschleife as well," he joked.

"I think it's going to be cold, rainy, snowy, I don't know what to expect but I ill make sure I bring my jacket."

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Bottas in bullish mood after clinching victory in Sochi

Valtteri Bottas was pumped up after taking his second Grand Prix victory of the 2020 season, relighting his... The post Bottas in bullish mood after clinching victory in Sochi appeared first on F1i.com.

Bottas in bullish mood after clinching victory in Sochi

Valtteri Bottas was pumped up after taking his second Grand Prix victory of the 2020 season, relighting his hopes of competing for the world championship against his team mate Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas qualified for the race in third place but insisted that this was a good grid position at Sochi - with good reason, as he clinched his maiden F1 victory from that position here in 2017.

The Finn got the best start of the front runners, passing Max Verstappen and then drawing level with Hamilton in turn 2. However he braked too late and had to back off, allowing Hamilton to retain the lead.

“Obviously I tried, as I knew the start was going to be the first opportunity," he said, before revealing an unexpected reason why the move hadn't come off.

"I was a bit compromised because there was a massive bee or something that hit my visor just before the braking," he said. "That’s why I couldn't really see when I should brake, so that's why I went a bit too deep.

“I knew it was going to be a long race after that, and with the medium tyre I had there would be opportunities."

In fact the outcome turned on two five second penalties handed to Hamilton for not following the correct procedure when practicing race starts on his way to the grid.

The extended pit stop saw Hamilton drop out of the top ten. While he recovered to third, he was never able to challenge Bottas and Verstappen at the front.

"Once I was in clean air I felt the pace was pretty awesome and I could control everything," he confirmed.

It's Bottas' ninth career win since he joined the Mercedes team and couldn't have come at a better moment as he seeks to rebuild his self-confidence.

"It is nice to get a win again," he said. "It has been a while and it definitely feels good. Now I need to try to keep the momentum."

As he crossed the finish line, the normally reserved Bottas had a strong - and profane! - message of defiance for all those who had been publicly doubting his ability in recent weeks.

"There's a bit of a build of, not frustration but a few disappointing races. Obviously giving everything every single week and then being this close to a win but now finally got it.

'Finally things went my way as well. I consider myself a bit lucky as well, but I'll take it. I feel I've earned it. The race pace was really good so that's why there was a bit of an outburst.

"The critics and the people who tell me I should give up and so on, they give me so much energy and power. I hope they can learn something," he said.

Race winner Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W11 celebrates with the team at the end of the race.

Victory in Sochi and a bonus point for the fastest lap of the race means that Bottas has now closed the gap to Hamilton in the drivers championship by nine points, with Hamilton on 205 points to Bottas' 161 with seven races remaining.

"I managed to squeeze a bit more points against Lewis, there are still quite a few races to go and you never know," he said. “I’ll keep pushing, I won’t give up and we’ll see how it ends up.

"I really hope I can carry good momentum now," he added. "It was a strong result for me, everything was under control You need these results to gain confidence.

"I'm really pleased to get this result now and it definitely means the championship is not over," he said. "In this sport you never know. Obviously I'll try and keep the momentum and be confident.

"In the end there's not much to lose from my side so I'm definitely going to go for it. Hopefully things will keep going my way a bit, not just for one race.

"As I always say, I'll keep pushing and won't give up!"

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