Frustrated Perez looks ahead after missing out on Q3

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Sergio Perez was not happy after failing to crack Q3 in Saturday qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, forcing him to start 12th on the grid for Sunday’s main event.

“I really should have been in Q3 today – but I didn’t manage to find as much time as the others in Q2,” the McLaren driver said. “That was frustrating. The warm-up of my tires before my quick lap wasn’t ideal, and I struggled to really pull everything together on the lap.”

However, Perez isn’t giving up hope and believes that a points-paying finish can be in the cards considering that the tires will be, in his words, “difficult and unpredictable for everyone” on race day.

“It’s going to a tough race, and a lot will depend on the strategy,” said Perez. “I’ve got a great team behind me and I know they’ll do a fantastic job to give me the best possible strategy for the race tomorrow. We can definitely do a good job and score some good points.”

His boss, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, naturally backed him up, echoing Perez’s hope for points in Shanghai.

“We’ve seen before just what he can do, and this weekend has shown that it should be no major impediment to start outside the top 10,” Whitmarsh said. “He can definitely race strongly into the points.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.