Sergio Perez forces me to bring my A-game - Lance Stroll

Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll says the ongoing presence of Sergio Perez within Racing Point through at least 2022 is positive for the Formula 1 team, believing he has to bring his “A-game” to beat the Mexican.

Perez has been with the team since its Force India guise in 2014 and has taken five podium finishes, along with the ‘best of the rest’ championship classification of seventh on two occasions.

Last month it was confirmed that Perez will stay on at Racing Point – owned since mid-2018 by Stroll’s father Lawrence – until 2022, after signing a three-year deal.

Stroll took Racing Point’s 2019 stand-out result of fourth in Germany but has been largely shaded by Perez this year.

Perez has out-qualified Stroll on all bar one occasion and has accrued 27 points to his team-mate’s 19.

“He’s a very good driver and he’s scored a lot of points for the team over the years,” said Stroll on Perez.

“So that’s positive going into the next years, he’s a driver that brings points home, and capitalises on opportunities. He’s been on the podium eight times [in his career].

“It’s always good to have someone that’s really on top of their game next to you and he’s that guy.

“He pushes me 100 per cent and that makes me stronger, and in order to be competitive I have to bring my A-game as much as I can.

“That makes it fun. That’s what competition and sport is all about, it’s having that competitive spirit, that healthy relationship within the team, we have that.”

Perez is the only driver on the grid to have pledged his future to a Formula 1 team until 2022, and Stroll regards that as a vote of confidence in the team’s long-term prospects.

“It’s all about the future for us,” said Stroll.

“In many ways the start of this season hasn’t been as good as we hoped to be, but the future is very exciting.

“We’ve started to see some gains and we want to keep making progress as the team develops.”