Perez pleased with P5 but predicts a 'long race' in Bahrain

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Sergio Perez was delighted to secure fifth on the grid on the day of contrasts at Racing Point at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mexican has been strong all weekend at Sakhir, but had to be at his best to emerge on top in a very tight midfield battle with Renault, AlphaTauri and McLaren in qualifying.

Indeed, less than four-tenths covered the six cars, with Alex Albon only 0.048s ahead of Perez in fourth for Red Bull, and Checo was pleased to achieve his objectives.

“It was a pretty good qualifying today,” he said post-session via

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“I think what really made our qualifying was Q1 actually – getting through on one set [of tyres] then being committed on our strategy; we were clear what we wanted to do for the race to be starting on the medium. I think that also made a good difference for us.

“Tomorrow, there’s a lot to play for. [With a] good start, good strategy, we can get a lot of points.”

For many, Perez could well be a dark horse for Sunday with his ability to look after the rear tyres potentially allowing him to complete one less pit-stop than many.

But asked if he could potentially manage just a one-stop strategy on Sunday, Sergio was clear.

“Not here,” he said. “I think we’re going to see between two and three stops tomorrow. It’s going to be a long race.

"I always say in Bahrain, what matters is your race pace. I think today was not so important or critical. I think tomorrow is the important day.”

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Across the garage, however, Lance Stroll went from pole in Turkey two weeks ago to P13 on Saturday in Bahrain, later blaming the poor finish on a tyre mix-up.

“We had the wrong tyres on the car,” the Canadian said. “It was no one’s fault. I think it was a miscommunication on timing. I thought we would have had time for two runs, but we only had time for one run.

“I was on an old set of mediums because we used one in Q1 and then we did a lap before the red flag in Q2, then we went back on that set.

"So where the others had a new set, there was no chance to even get close unfortunately. That was a bad call.”

In the battle for third in the Constructors' Championship, however, Racing Point need Stroll to keep Carlos Sainz, who's set to start 15th behind him, and catch the Renault's who start sixth and seventh.