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Perez: I should have been on pole

NEWS STORY
18/04/2021

Sergio Perez believes that it was a mistake at the final corner that cost him pole position at Imola, admitting he still feels himself to be "miles away" from his true potential in the RB16B.

As the mood turned from euphoria to despondency in the McLaren garage, Sergio Perez' late, blistering effort saw the Mexican claim a front row start in only his second outing for Red Bull, eclipsing teammate Max Verstappen.

Despite finishing a mere 0.035s behind pole-man Lewis Hamilton however, the Mexican believes that a needless mistake in the final corner cost him the coveted position.

"I should have been on pole today," said Perez in the moments after the session. "I did a mistake on my final corner.

"I think it's everything positive," he added. "We just have to make sure that we keep progressing and tomorrow is what matters.

"I think anything can happen," he admitted. "We are on a different strategy to Lewis and Max. It's going to be interesting to see what we can do and most important, get those points, get that learning, which is the priority at the moment.

"Every time we are in the car we are making big steps, so it was a good session in that regard because every time I am driving this car I am learning something new and that's pretty good.

"If there is a place you don't want to come in your second race with a new team it's probably Imola," he admitted, "it's one of the most difficult circuits around to put a lap together, the limit is so narrow, you are millimetres all the time from the grass. So, to be there, to be here, in my second race is a pretty good step from our side.

"I have a pretty good reference in Max," he continued, "he is getting one-hundred per cent all the time out of the car, and I'm just adapting myself to it. I'm learning, step by step.

"I wasn't expecting myself to be here at the moment as I feel I am miles away from where I should be. Things are not coming naturally yet, so it's good, a good boost in confidence, not just for myself, but also for the team to make them feel they have both drivers (at the front) and we can push the team forward together, that's the important bit."

"In Q3 I went off at Turn 3," said Verstappen, who qualified third, just 0.087s off Hamilton's pace, "so a bit messy. Not a great lap, but it can't be good every time.

"We'll see what went wrong," he added, "but it was definitely not the easiest thing. Still P3 is a good starting position. It's going to be interesting because we have the two cars on different tyres so let's see how that will work out.

"We'll try to make it difficult for Mercedes."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Imola, here.

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