Racing Point Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez says he will be aiming to get ahead of Max Verstappen and mix it up with the leaders at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Mexican claimed a strong fourth place on his return to F1 having recovered from contracting COVID-19 as he secured a second-row starting position for the long drag down to Turn 1.

With overtaking opportunities limited around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Perez is fully focused on launching an attack on Verstappen’s Red Bull after being outpaced by the Dutchman by just under two-tenths in qualifying.

“We are definitely [looking] to the front,” Perez said.

“If we are able to get a good start, get ahead of Max, we may be able to hold him back.

“It’s not an easy track to pass and the amount of saving and the management we have to do will be extreme.”

Asked if he feels a podium could be on the cards, Perez replied: “In terms of pace we don’t quite have the pace to beat the Red Bull, especially the Mercedes. Who knows if we’re able to get ahead on lap one.

“I am pleased with that comeback,” he added. “The conditions haven’t been easy today.

“Very hot, very windy as well - the final sector [the wind] changing direction through qualifying. It wasn’t an easy session out there but overall a good result for the team.”

Perez was a tenth clear of teammate Lance Stroll, who felt that there was more time on the table in his RP20 but was ultimately happy with his effort to take P5 on the grid.

“I think it was a great qualifying for us,” Stroll explained. “There wasn’t much more in it.

“It looked like the Red Bull had the upper hand on us throughout qualifying so we got to be happy with fifth.

“There was potentially a little bit more in it for me. I made a little mistake on my best lap into Turn 10 which cost me a tenth but that’s qualifying.

“You’re always on the edge, trying to get every tenth out there. All in all, happy with fifth. We’re in a good place to fight tomorrow.”

 

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