The 2019 Mercedes looks great in Pink, one could say that after the first practice day of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix as Racing Point impressed on day one at Red Bull Ring.
Increasingly the Mercedes B-Team, in the mould of Haas and Ferrari as well as Red Bull and AlphaTauri, is the Silverstone based outfit recently purchased by Lawrence Stroll and fellow-billionaire mates who will transfrom it into Aston Martin for next year.
For now, their alliance with the mighty Mercedes team is paying dividends as Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll appear to have a decent piece of kit at their disposal.
So much so that the veteran Mexican plonked his car third on the timing sheets in FP2 where he stayed, only bettered by the Mercedes works boys. Lance Stroll was good for seventh, a quarter of a second shy of the sister car.
Perez’s best lap of 1:04.945 was six-tenths down on the top time by Ledwis Hamilton.
Lance Stroll: “It was very exciting to be driving again and it was a solid day for the team. We got a taste for the car in Barcelona during winter testing, but it’s good to see where we are relative to everybody else. We looked competitive and after so many months out of the car it was nice to get back in the groove.
“It’s definitely been one of the better Fridays I can remember for a long time – so that’s a good sign. Today, it looked like we had the pace. So we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Sergio Perez: “It’s been an interesting day. Everything is really close out there, especially on such a short track. The car feels good and I’m happy. In the factory, the team has done a tremendous job and we have a car underneath us that is working well.
“There’s still a lot of work to do – tonight and tomorrow morning – but we are in decent shape. The margins are extremely close, so it’s going to be really important to put together some really tidy laps in qualifying tomorrow.”