Sergio Perez admits he is still feeling the effects of his positive Covid-19 test despite qualifying an impressive fourth for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The Racing Point driver was back in the cockpit for the first time in two races at the Circuit de Catalunya having missed the two previous events at Silverstone after testing positive for the virus.
However he appears to have instantly found form in Barcelona after out-qualifying his team-mate Lance Stroll to line up on the second row for Sunday’s race.
When quizzed over the toughest aspect of his return, he told Sky Sports: ‘The heat! Especially missing two races with the virus, I’m feeling it already.
‘I’m pleased with that comeback. The conditions haven’t been easy today, very hot, very windy as well, it wasn’t an easy session out there but I think overall it’s a great result for the team.’
Perez is now targeting a podium for Sunday’s race but admits he will have it tough to land his first top-three finish of the campaign staring behind the all-conquering Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas as well as previous race winner at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.
The 30-year-old admits that managing his tyres in the expected hot weather will also be an issue.
‘I think if we are able to get a good start and get ahead of Max, we might be able to hold him back because here it’s not an easy place to pass,’ he added.
‘And the amount of managing we are going to have to do is going to be extreme.
‘I think in terms of pace we don’t quite have the pace to beat the Red Bull and especially the Mercedes, but who knows, If we are able to get ahead on lap one.”