Sergio Perez admits he will be “disappointed” if Racing Point is unable to topple McLaren in Sunday’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.

Racing Point looked to be the third-fastest team going into qualifying at the Red Bull Ring behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

Despite Racing Point’s strong pace in practice, it was beaten by McLaren’s Lando Norris - who qualified a surprise fourth.

 

Perez will line up sixth on the grid, while team-mate Lance Stroll will start ninth.

"I think very,’’ Perez replied when asked how close the battle with McLaren is going into Sunday's Austrian GP. "I think we’re going to be in the mix and definitely [I’m looking] forward to it. I will be disappointed if we don’t beat them tomorrow.

The Mexican is confident of fighting back against McLaren in Sunday's race given that Racing Point showed superior race pace in practice. 

"We knew all the way through the weekend that the margins were very small around us with the McLarens, with the Red Bulls and people behind like the Renaults and so on,'' Perez added. ''I think the McLarens showed their true pace right at the end there in Q3.

"My Q3 was quite okay. The track, I found it a bit slower. I matched Albon, did the same lap time as him but unfortunately he did it before so tomorrow we look forward to doing a good race. I think we have good race pace so we should be able to fight from there.''

It was only the fifth time in 63 attempts Stroll has made the final part of qualifying.

Despite only qualifying in ninth, Stroll is still confident of a good points haul. 

"Both guys in Q3 it’s a positive way to start the season. I think my lap was clean. I would have changed a couple of things with the balance of the car just to optimise it a bit for the lap time in Q3 but we gave it a good shot.

"It’s so tight between all the cars that a couple of tenths makes a big difference. Let’s see what tomorrow brings, it’s going to be an exciting race and we’re in a good position to score some good points.''

 

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