Sergio Perez has revealed a mistake on his final flying lap cost him the chance of beating Lewis Hamilton to pole position in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.
Perez, who joined Red Bull at the start of this season, will start from the front row for the first time in his 193 grand prix career, and is the first driver to out-qualify the team’s long-term driver Max Verstappen in normal conditions since 2018.
But after the session the Mexican revealed he could have done even better. He said: "I should have been on pole today. I did a mistake on my final corner."
The success came despite Perez missing vital practice time after a collision in the first practice session.
He added: “I have to say well done to the team. Yesterday I made a mistake and I made them work hard so it’s a good recovery.
“The most important thing is we are showing progress. I never expected to be here today. Where we were yesterday, we have been improving, but it’s just important to be P2.
"I think everything is positive we just have to make sure we keep progressing and tomorrow is what matters.”
Perez will be taking a different approach to the race on Sunday after he used soft tyres to make it through into the final top-10 shoot-out, as opposed to the medium compounds used by Verstappen and the two Mercedes drivers.
That means he will have to start on those soft tyres for his opening stint. He said: “Anything can happen tomorrow.
"We are on a different strategy to Lewis and Max so it’s going to be interesting to see what we can do.
“Most important, get those points, get that learning, which is the priority at the moment.”
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