Following their impressive showing in pre-season testing, it gave a further indication of the progress the team has made since last year.
“We have to take it step by step,” cautioned Perez. “But I think we certainly have closed the gap to the top teams.
“I think where last year we started really on the back foot, I think right now we are ready to start and ready to fight and I’m proud to be here.”
However he pointed out Mercedes are still comfortably ahead of Racing Point, and several of their rivals are much closer behind.
“We were a good half a second away,” said Perez. “And on such a small track the Ferraris, the Red Bulls, the Renaults, the McLarens are all within a tenth of us.
“So it’s not like we can get too excited. The margins are extremely close. Hopefully tomorrow we can put a great lap together in quali.”
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