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Perez says he “should have been on pole” after last-corner error

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez suspects a mistake at the final corner in qualifying prevented him from taking his first Formula 1 pole position at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

The new Red Bull driver qualified on the front row, just 0.035 seconds off the lap time Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton set to claim pole. Perez’s previous best starting position was his third place at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.

“First of all I have to say well done to the team,” Perez said after qualifying. “Yesterday I did a mistake, and I made them work hard during the day so it’s a good recovery but most important is that we’re showing progress.”

Perez had a difficult weekend until the final segment of qualifying. He collided with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in first practice, then was almost six-tenths of a second slower than team mate Max Verstappen in Saturday practice.

Unlike Verstappen, who used the medium tyre compound in Q2, Perez had to use the faster soft compound tyre to ensure his progression into Q3. As a result, he will start the grand prix on the soft while Verstappen is on the medium.

“I never expected to be here today,” he admitted. “Where we were yesterday, we’ve been improving, but it’s just important, I mean, to be P2.

“I should have been on pole today, I did a mistake on my final corner. I think it’s everything positive but we just have to make sure that we keep progressing and tomorrow is what matters.”

He expects “anything can happen” in the race, particularly if rain arrives as forecast on Sunday. “We are on a different strategy to Lewis and Max, so it’s going to be interesting,” said Perez. “We’ll see what we can do, and most important get those points, get that learning which is priority at the moment.”

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2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Elliot Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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17 comments on “Perez says he “should have been on pole” after last-corner error”

  1. not should have, but could have if he didn’t make a mistake.

    1. He probably meant that the car was fast enough the mistake.

      Reply moderated
  2. Great effort by Sergio.
    Best grid position for Red Bull’s other car since Ricciardo left, on his 2nd race.

  3. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    17th April 2021, 15:49

    Sergio could be a legit title threat if he stays in his current form, of course Max will be a huge challenge for him as will Lewis but his drive in Bahrain followed by P2 is a good sign!

    1. @canadianjosh Red Bull, at a guess, want Perez as a good number two driver, not as a threat to Max. I don’t actually see that happening over a season, but it does add an intriguing question of what Red Bull if Perez does qualify ahead and stays ahead in the races. They can just roll with it for now. Or they might be tempted to use strategy to get Max ahead, believing (undoubtedly correctly) that he’s the strongest title contender. Are they happy to see another Verstappen-Ricciardo rivalry start to brew? Perez is less aggressive than Ricciardo, so maybe they’ll be okay about for now. But as we saw at Ferrari with Vettel and Leclerc, there’s no guarantee competitive team mates in a title-challenging car will cooperate.

      1. Yeah, this certainly bodes well for the season. But I agree with you @kbdavies that Perez is unlikely to really become the title challenger. Then again, who knows.

  4. At least he’s got a tyre advantage on the start, which could help him take lead into T1 and control the race until his pit stop.

    1. The mix of tyre strategies will be great to see play out.
      My guess is that Redbull is banking on the undercut and giving Max a couple of extra laps to harry Lewis.
      What I really like is Perez’s attitude …. “should have been on pole”.
      This is gonna be awesome.

  5. It will be very interesting to see, Sergio starts with soft tires, in theory he could reach the curve first, Lewis with his experience will put him to the test, Lewis wants to see if Checo is willing to have a contact, and I think Sergio has to throw the truck at him, Perez has to be ready to crash in order to win Turn 2, Max just has to see what is going to happen and pick up what is left.
    Wow!, I want to start it.

    1. Although he has a grippier compound, starting P2 is off the racing line and his practice start didn’t seem quite as good as Max & Lewis’ in FP3.. But who knows, maybe he gets a flying start and leads into turn 1, that would be awesome for the race.

    2. @lmb-f1 crash? That’s not how you win championships.

      1. iCrabs, you are not understanding, I do not want them to collide, I only pose the scenario, Lewis is going to put his car in that gray area so that Pérez cannot pass, Sergio has to fight the position, as far as Lewis wants, and that is not cheat, but Sergio has to take his car well planted to Turn 2 and show his arm.
        Lewis is an expert in putting the car there, perfect in the gray zone of the regulations, Checo cannot show respect, Checo is not Valteri, I am just saying that Pérez has to fight that position with authority and without fear, that is what we want to see in F1,… I don’t want them to collide, …that’s going to be up to Lewis.

      2. Well, Prost, Senna and Schumacher wouldn’t agree…

        1. Well, Senna, Prost and Schumacher always did it, they collided in multiple cocations to defend their position, I don’t see why Lewis and Checo can’t fight hard, you don’t have to be scared, they are races.

          …and I think they would agree.

      3. I was replying to this:

        @lmb-f1 crash? That’s not how you win championships.

        My reply:

        Well, Prost, Senna and Schumacher wouldn’t agree…

        1988-1989-1994 to further clarify.

        1. 1989-1990-1994 to be precise

          1. Rules are more strict now though, they wouldn’t allow stuff like that again, just like they don’t allow moving under breaking.

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