Sergio Perez admits surprise at Lance Stroll's quick race pace

Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll

Sergio Perez says he was “caught out” by the race pace of new Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll in Formula 1 this season.

Stroll joined the rebranded Racing Point team, owned by father Lawrence, for the 2019 campaign after spending two years with Williams, which slipped to the rear of the pack.

Stroll has struggled in qualifying this year, making Q2 just once, and has yet to beat the Mexican in a head-to-head over one lap.

But Stroll has taken four points finishes to Perez’s three, and is in front in the championship standings, with that statistic swelled by his fourth-place finish in Germany.

“I think since he came [to the team] I’ve been surprised with his race rhythm, that’s something that caught me out,” said Perez.

“Previously I seemed to have a bit more of an advantage historically to my previous team-mates, especially on race pace, and with Lance the first time he was up there.

“I think his race pace is quite good, he’s improving… I think the driver he is today to where he was when he arrived, he has improved massively, so there is a lot to come from him.

“I think he has performed quite well. He is a racer, like me, on Sundays, so I think he’s done a pretty good job considering the car we’ve had all the way to now.”

Perez also stressed that there are “a lot of positives” from his opening half of 2019, despite failing to score since Azerbaijan, a predicament that has left him only 16th in the standings.

“I started the season well, I’ve been driving pretty well, maximising the potential of the car, all the way through the first part of the season,” he said.

“Germany obviously I have to take responsibility for that, that has an impact on my season until the summer break, but overall a lot of positives to take, and I expect to have a very strong second half of the season.”