Perez & Racing Point take positives despite missed podium in Austria

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Sergio Perez and Racing Point were left to reflect on the positives after falling out of podium contention in the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Mexican found himself battling eventual third-place finisher Lando Norris for much of the race at the Red Bull Ring, and appeared to have seized the initiative after passing the Briton soon after his first pit-stop.

However, when those around him chose the stop again for tyres under the second safety car while he did not, that left Perez vulnerable to attack and he lost three places in the final 10 laps to Charles Leclerc and both McLarens.

“We had to fight hard today and we had strong pace. Sixth place is a good way to start the season, but we could have finished even higher," he commented post-race.

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"We were unlucky with the safety cars, but it’s easy to say after the race that we should have pitted a second time.

“I had to defend from drivers on fresher tyres in the final laps, which was a challenge. However, this was a good race to learn plenty about the car and our performance.

"The main positive is that we have a competitive package and I think we can be fighting for another strong result here next week.”

Racing Point CEO Otmar Szafnauer was also philosophical suggesting the team was ultimately damned if they did and damned if they didn't.

"After such a long break from racing, it was important to start our season with a handful of points with Sergio in sixth place," he said.

“It’s frustrating to see a podium slip away in the final few laps, but it was difficult to hold off those cars with a tyre advantage.

"With so many safety car interruptions, we had some difficult decisions to make and we chose to preserve track position rather than pit. The cars behind us effectively had free pit stops and could react to what we did – pitting when we chose to stay out.

“That was certainly the case with the McLarens and Leclerc."