Sergio Perez admits he has been “caught out” by the race pace demonstrated by new Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll so far during the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Perez has held the upper hand in qualifying during the opening 12 rounds of the campaign, but Stroll has impressed on Sundays, often recovering through the field from his lowly starting positions and currently heads his more experienced teammate in the championship, sitting in 12th place having recorded five points more than Perez.

“I think since he came I’ve been surprised with his race rhythm, that’s something that caught me out,” Perez said at the Hungarian Grand Prix when asked how he has found Stroll as a teammate.

“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 has been satisfied with his season to date, aside from a costly mistake in the German Grand Prix that meant he missed the chance to score a potentially big result during an unpredictable race, while Stroll went on to take the team’s best finish of the season in fourth.

“I started the season well, I’ve been driving pretty well, no mistakes, maximising the potential of the car, all the way through the first part of the season,” the Mexican added.

“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.”

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