Sergio Pérez admitted it was a bad start to the Italian Grand Prix weekend after crashing out of first practice at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza without setting a lap time.
Just moments after the session had restarted following a red flag period, caused by Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Räikkönen spinning into the barriers at Parabolica, Pérez crashed out of the session himself, this time on the exit of the Ascari chicane.
The Racing Point F1 Team driver was able to resume running in the second session but was only sixteenth fastest, with Pérez hoping to be able to find more time and move up the order on Saturday.
“It was a bad start with a crash on my out lap in FP1,” said Pérez. “Luckily we didn’t lose any track time in FP2 when the track was a bit drier.
“We have a good amount of information for tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be able to close up the gap in qualifying when conditions could be very different.”
Team-mate Lance Stroll admits it is difficult to judge just where Racing Point are at this point of the weekend, but he was disappointed for the fans to see so little running in the morning session when conditions were at their worst.
Stroll ended twelfth fastest in the morning session and was just ahead of Pérez in fifteenth in the afternoon, just over a tenth of a second ahead of his more experienced team-mate.
“The day was very disrupted because of the weather,” said the Canadian. “We didn’t get much running in, so it is hard to tell where we are relative to the other teams. It’s a shame for the fans who came out wanting to see the cars on track.
“The mixed conditions made it challenging to run and even when we put the dry tyres on this afternoon it started to drizzle so we will have to wait and see where we really stand.
“A lot of the guys did their performance run early in the session, when it was dry, but we were on the option tyre at that point. When we went to the qualifying tyre it started to rain so we didn’t show everything today. Let’s see what the data says and where we can improve overnight.”
Team Principal and CEO of Racing Point, Otmar Szafnauer, said it was not an easy day at Monza, with Pérez’s crash giving the mechanics a lot of work to do in between the two sessions.
Luckily, the car was ready to go for the afternoon session, but due to the conditions being mixed throughout the day, Szafnauer, in agreement with Stroll, feels it is difficult to judge just how competitive the team will be across the remainder of the weekend.
“Not the easiest of days with the wet weather impacting on both practice sessions,” said Szafnauer. “The damage to Sergio’s car caused us a few headaches but we managed to get the car repaired in time for the afternoon session.
“Lance had a more straightforward day and both drivers completed a good number of laps in the second session.
“It’s hard to judge our relative competitiveness based on such a disrupted day, but the forecast looks much brighter across the weekend. I think we’ve got a good chance of getting both cars into Q3 tomorrow afternoon.”