Perez: I'm miles away with Red Bull F1 car despite Imola front-row start

Sergio Perez was surprised to qualify second for Formula 1’s 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as he still feels “miles away” from gelling “naturally” with Red Bull’s car concept. 

Perez: I'm miles away with Red Bull F1 car despite Imola front-row start

In only his second event for Red Bull, Perez out-qualified team-mate Max Verstappen and felt he actually lost pole at Imola to Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton with a mistake in the final corners of his last Q3 lap. 

Perez had trailed Verstappen by 0.593 seconds in FP3 – the only practice session both Red Bull drivers completed after the former collided with Esteban Ocon in FP1 and the latter had a driveshaft problem early in FP2 – and was 0.286s slower than the Dutchman in Q1. 

But he gained significantly after running the soft tyres throughout Q2, topping that segment and then beating Verstappen by 0.052s in Q3 – where both made errors that cost them the chance to deprive Hamilton of pole – to take his first F1 front-row start. 

Explaining how he was able to make such an improvement in the post-qualifying press conference, Perez said: “I think just understanding where to get the time.  

“I have a pretty good reference in Max, it’s just getting 100% all time out of the car [is difficult]. It’s just adapting myself to it, learning step-by-step.  

“I wasn’t expecting myself to be here at the moment because I feel that I am miles away from where I should be [with the RB16B].  

“Things are not coming naturally yet. So, it’s a good boost in confidence, not just for myself, also for the team – to make them feel that they have both drivers and that we can push the team forward together.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

 “That’s an important bit. Hopefully from here on, we just keep that progress and [in the race] we do another step in performance. 

“It’s the target just to keep [improving] step-by-step.  

“I’m not in a hurry, I know that I’m not where I should be, but certainly it’s positive to be up here just in my second race with the team.” 

When asked by Autosport to explain why he had not used the medium tyres in Q2, which would have provided a slightly better starting strategy for Sunday’s race, Perez said: “We felt as a team that the soft is nowhere near where it was last year, so it’s a good race tyre.  

“It’s just different to the medium [and] it was very important and crucial for me to get that learning, that consistency and that progression [by reaching Q3].  

“Last time [in Bahrain] I missed Q3 and really getting those laps. We can all look back and all do better, but just getting in that mood with the car is very important for me – to be able to put it when it matters.  

“I needed this clean qualifying. Whether or not it is the right or wrong strategy I think there’s not much between them, so we are definitely in the game for tomorrow.” 

shares
comments

Related video

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era
Previous article

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

Next article

Miami Grand Prix joins F1 calendar for 2022 season

Miami Grand Prix joins F1 calendar for 2022 season
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP Plus

Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP

On paper the Canadian Grand Prix will go down as Max Verstappen’s latest triumph, fending off late pressure from Carlos Sainz to extend his Formula 1 world championship lead. But as safety car periods, virtual and real, shook up the race Ferrari demonstrated it can take the fight to Red Bull after recent failures

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
The in-demand helmet designer creating works of art for F1's best Plus

The in-demand helmet designer creating works of art for F1's best

GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV pays a visit to designer Jens Munser, to observe the production of Mick Schumacher’s special helmet for the Miami Grand Prix. What follows is some fascinating insight on the mindsets of Mick’s dad Michael, and family friend Sebastian Vettel

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2022