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Perez: Bahrain F1 Q3 mistake cost me top three grid position

Sergio Perez was left rueing a mistake on his final lap in qualifying for the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix that left him four places behind polesitting team-mate Max Verstappen.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The Mexican finished the Q3 session 0.358 seconds off Verstappen, with Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Carlos Sainz all just pipping him.

Perez heads into this season knowing that he has to perform in order to retain his Red Bull seat for 2025 and beyond.

Despite his campaign getting off to a frustrating start, he remains optimistic after Red Bull’s testing promise translated into a comfortable pole for Verstappen.

"Yeah, definitely,” he said when asked by Autosport if the world champion’s pace was encouraging.

“It's been a positive day for the for the team. From my side, I messed up Turn 1, and lost a tenth and a bit. And that was enough to take me from probably P2 or P3. We've seen the gaps.

“It was also a shame that we lost the second set into Q2 without a need. We ended up aborting. It was already a scrubbed tyre, but anyway, plenty of things to look forward for tomorrow."

Perez says he feels more comfortable with the RB20 than its predecessor, having struggled to match Verstappen for much of last year.

"I feel there is good potential, and there is good understanding,” he said. “I think we're making good progress. It's the first time we've run it at such a light fuel, and even through qualifying we were making some good progress.

“It's a shame that in the end we didn't get to show it. But I think we are in a much better position, and also our race pace is better. So let's see where we end up tomorrow."

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, is interviewed after Qualifying

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, is interviewed after Qualifying

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Perez gave a clear indication of the key area that he believes has been addressed relative to the RB19.

"I think the entry stability is better,” he said. “It's obviously still a Red Bull car. But I think it's where we're taking good steps.

"I think we've started the season strongly. The result might not show it, but it's just a matter of putting everything together. We are in a good position for tomorrow, having that flexibility with the softs. We have good tyres for tomorrow."

Regarding prospects for Saturday evening’s race he said: "I think following has become a little bit harder. So it will be interesting to be with cars around, and see what it's like.

"It's a really, really close out there. I think tomorrow we will still learn a lot, all of us, so it's important to complete the race distance, and then go from there."

Perez also downplayed any distraction in the garage caused by the ongoing off-track saga involving team boss Christian Horner.

"Everyone is fully focused,” he said. “I mean, we are a race team. And everyone in the team comes here to race, and that's our main focus for us."

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