Sergio Perez says that he must overtake Lando Norris early to avoid being left in the dust by the leaders of the race.
Perez acclaimed Norris for putting together a great lap which placed him in third position ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix while Perez could only manage to finish P4.
“The gaps were extremely tight all the way through qualifying, it just shows how close it is. If you take a tenth out of my lap time, all of the sudden I’m P2, so the margins are extremely tight around this place and it will only get tighter on the second weekend.”
He reminisced that his final run in Q3 was compromised by the Mercedes drivers who overtook him to start their final flying laps. Despite this, Perez is aware of the Red Bulls pace advantage over the Mclarens during longer stints. However, to perfectly capitalize on this and stay in the fight for the win Perez needs to pass Norris in an early phase of the race.
“The aim is to clear Lando as soon as possible to make sure we are in the race with the leaders soon enough. So that’s the main target and make the most out of our strategy. I’ll be as aggressive as needed to just get my track position, where I need to be.”
Both Norris and Perez will start the race on softs. However, to put some strategic pressure on Mercedes, Perez will have to clear Norris and close down on Hamilton, who should have less pace than Perez in the opening few laps as he starts on the medium tires.
Both Hamilton and Bottas start on the mediums, this gives the Redbulls greater flexibility on strategy. For this to work perfectly, Perez’s opening stint will be key.