José María López admits that it’s ‘better to make mistakes when trying to be the best’ after an error in qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship in Vila Real left the Citroën driver in fifth.
López made mistakes in both Q2 and Q3 in qualifying in Portugal, giving him his third-worst qualifying result since he joined the championship.
The current points leader will therefore start from fifth for the Main Race, with the reverse-grid Opening Race giving him a starting position of sixth.
“Even though I’ve got a comfortable lead in the championship, I’m still attacking hard to get the best result possible,” said the reigning champion. “I prefer to make a mistake when trying to be the best rather than playing it safe to secure a minor place.
“Obviously, I didn’t have the best time of things in qualifying today, but I was still close to winning pole position.”
Having made contact with the wall in Q2, forcing his team to make repairs and only just having time to do a lap to get into Q3, López then took to the escape road on his only lap in Q3.
The Argentine stopped short of saying that it was entirely driver error on the second mistake, however.
“It is difficult to say what happened for me in Q3…,” he added. “Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe it was a consequence of my collision in Q2. We’re going to look at that with the team.
“I’m going to have to see what I can do from fifth and sixth on the grid. That’s not ideal on a street circuit and it will be hard for me to challenge for a win.
“But I’ll try to score as many points as I can to maintain my lead in the overall standings. Winning a third world title remains my main goal.”