Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2021

Perez says rain cost him time on final run after losing pole to Verstappen

2021 United States Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says the rain that fell at the end of qualifying cost him time after losing pole position to his team mate on their final runs.

The Red Bull driver was quickest after the first runs in Q3, but was beaten to pole by Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton also beat Perez’s time, relegating him to third place.

“We were really close in that final lap,” said Perez. “I think we did a great job as a team.”

“Unfortunately my final attempt wasn’t as as good throughout the lap. I improved through the first sector quite a bit and I wasn’t able to just keep it progressively.”

Some drivers were warned rain was beginning to fall at the end of qualifying.

“I think the rain hit me too hard in the final sector,” said Perez. “There were spots of rain and I lost a bit of grip in two corners and I could just see my delta going off.”

Perez improved his lap time from a 1’33.180 to a 1’33.134 with his final run. However his final sector time was slower, 30.803 seconds compared to 30.644s. Verstappen did a 30.672s in sector three on his last lap.

Verstappen said his first lap “wasn’t amazing” and was relieved to take pole with his final effort despite the rain.

“In the final lap it also started spitting like a bit of drizzle in the last sector, especially,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to hang on to my lap time.

“But it was enough and of course, to put the lap time in and be on pole position and also to be P1 and P3 as a team, I think was a very strong performance.”

With Hamilton splitting the Red Bull drivers on the grid, but the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas starting ninth after a penalty, Verstappen said Red Bull will have to “work together as a team to get the best possible result”.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Perez says rain cost him time on final run after losing pole to Verstappen”

  1. Maybe next time. Great effort Checo the car is really coming to you. πŸ‘πŸ‘

  2. Finally Lewis in a RBR sandwich instead of Max in a Mercedes sandwich. I am very curious how the strategies play out of Merc and RBR tomorrow :)

    1. Ahhhh, can’t you smell the midnight-oil burning.?
      Likely a big chunk of the result will happen by the time they get to turn 2.
      Entertaining to say the least.

  3. Mistake to insist on being last out this time then

    1. yup @balue. Turned out not to be quicker this time.

  4. Why did it not affect Max? Magic?

    1. Excuse me, I reported your entry by mistake.

      I wanted to reply to you, that I think it did – Max was only yellow in sector 3.

    2. Max was just a bit further up the road, so he got a smidgen less slippery parts of track to deal with @john-h (due to that rain only starting to get on during their hot laps, towards the end of them).

    3. Max just did a better lap when it really mattered. Checo was 7 seconds behind Max, arguably an advantage since Max got through the wet patches first.

      Checo is always looking for things outside of his own control. I like the guy, but I don’t like the lack of self reflection (similar to Sainz – always some external factor is against them). Great performance by him nonetheless.

      1. Checked the live timing to compare secor times which confirms it:

        S1: Checo .04s slower
        S2: Checo .05s slower
        S3: Checo .11s slower

        Fine margins though which is really good to see. Great job by Checo.

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