Sergio Perez has called the 2020 Racing Point the best Formula 1 car he’s ever driven as the team continues its encouraging pre-season testing with the RP20.

Following Racing Point’s car concept overhaul for this season, the team freely admits it has taken inspiration from the last year’s Mercedes design but dismisses it is a copy of the W10.

While pre-season testing times are taken with caution, the Racing Point team has impressed at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over the past two weeks which has continued into the second test as Sergio Perez slotted into third place with a best lap of 1m 17.428s set late on in windy conditions.

The Mexican driver has been ultra-confident with the RP20 and rates his 2020 car as the best he’s driven in his F1 career.

“I think this can be the most solid package I’ve had in my career to start the season, I hope in Melbourne that proves to be right,” Perez said. “At the moment the car is working well, I think there is good things, good signs, but we’ve got so much work to do before Melbourne so hopefully we can be as prepared as possible.

“I think the top teams are still very strong, it’s very difficult to figure out where everyone is. I think by the end of testing we will have a bigger picture, but the more you try to look into the times the more you waste your time so we’ve got to wait for the next few days and see where everyone is, when they do more long running it’s a bit easier to figure out.”

Discounting the times, Perez believes Racing Point’s preparations for the 2020 F1 season will put it in a strong position regardless of the level of its rivals but knows the Silverstone-based team must maintain its efforts across the entire campaign.

“I think we’ve never been this prepared before. We always tend to come back in the second half of the season, so I think it will be the first time we can start a stronger season,” he said.

“I think there is no reason why they [Racing Point’s rivals] should have fear as you say, but we have to wait and see where everyone is in Melbourne. I believe there is a strong competition in that midfield group and we know it will get stronger as the season progresses.

“It’s not important where you start in Melbourne it’s where you finish in Abu Dhabi, as I always say, so we have a long season ahead of us.”