Perez optimistic after early-season form

Sergio Perez

Second place in the Australian Grand Prix, a result which followed pole position for the Saudi Arabian GP two weeks earlier, has left Sergio Perez optimistic heading into this weekend.

Imola plays host to the fourth round of the 2022 Formula 1 season with running for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix set to get underway on Friday.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the car this weekend,” said Perez.

“It was a mixed few days in Australia for the team but for me, I managed another consistent weekend, after my pole and fourth place in Jeddah.

“I am pleased with how I have been performing so far and getting on the podium for the first time this season in Melbourne was a step in the right direction, but I won’t stop there, I need and want to be there weekly for the team and for myself.”

The event is the first to use the Sprint Qualifying format this season, leaving just a single 60-minute practice session prior to qualifying.

“We go back to the sprint format this weekend and I will be aiming to pick up the most points possible,” Perez added.

“That all comes from a good qualifying performance on Friday, and I hope to hook it up again in Italy.”

A change to the Sprint Qualifying format for this year has seen the points paid out on a Saturday afternoon increased.

While last year the driver who crossed the line first on a Saturday would be awarded three points towards their championship tally, that figure has been increased to eight.

Combined with the bonus point for fastest lap, a driver could accrue a maximum of 34 points for the weekend.

Max Verstappen won last year’s edition of the race in mixed conditions, with Red Bull having again demonstrated it has the pace to run at the front throughout the three races thus far in 2022.

Similarly mixed conditions are forecast for this weekend’s running at Imola.

“I’m looking forward to racing again this weekend in Imola,” last year’s world champion said.

“This is obviously the first sprint race of the year so it’s important to make the most of the first practice session, so we have a good understanding of where the set-up needs to be for qualifying on Friday.

“The team trackside and back at the factory in Milton Keynes are working incredibly hard, hopefully we’ll have a straightforward weekend and that we score some good points as a team.

“For now, we’ll take it race by race and we’ll see where we end up.”

Verstappen won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix but failed to see the flag in both Bahrain and Australia with unrelated fuel system issues.

Opening practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix gets underway at 21:30 AEST tomorrow.

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