Perez always expected P8 as ‘the best we could get’ in Imola GP


Sergio Perez’s run to P8 in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix looked as uninspiring as it was disappointing, but the Red Bull driver says that he never expected a much better result in the race.

Perez suffered a challenging opening day of running at Imola, marked by a crash in free practice. However, Red Bull as a whole was out of the mix on Friday with Max Verstappen also seemingly lost struggling for performance at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

But while the Dutchman retrieved his pace in qualifying to claim his 39th career pole in F1, Perez failed to even make the top-ten shootout, a shortfall and a lowly start from P11 on Sunday that left the Mexican with a tough task ahead.

He was also the only driver on the grid – along with Williams’ Logan Sargeant – to start his race on the hard compound tyre as he anticipated a long first stint.

"I think we sort of knew that that was the best we could get," Perez said, commenting on his eighth-place finish, his worst result year-to-date.

"We obviously knew that the hard was going to be very difficult initially, but we were hoping for a safety car at the right point that potentially could put us back in the fight.

"It was very difficult first stint. I think it was compromised a lot with the traffic initially, traffic at the end - people coming through."

The Mexican also did himself no favors by indulging in an off-track excursion at Rivazza on lap 17.

“And I also had a lockup going into [Turn] 16. So I went straight and lost quite a bit of time,” he said. “I also picked up some damage. Just a very, very tough race.”

Commenting on the quartet of drivers - Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri, Carlos Sainz and George Russell – that had already pitted and who overtook him in the latter part of his stint, Perez admitted that he offered his rivals little resistance.

"I wanted to lose as little time as possible [when being overtaken]," he explained. "Unfortunately, at the same time, you are at the end of your stint, temperatures are dropping, and the grip is just very miserable at that point."

Addressing Red Bull’s relative weakness at Imola in the first part of the weekend, Perez pointed to the track’s characteristics as a reason for the RB20’s relative underperformance.

"I think it's a bit of circuit-specific," he said. "I think we've got to keep our heads down, keep working. Still, I'm happy that Max got the victory for the team.

"We've seen that McLaren [and] Ferrari have done a step forward, so we just have to keep our heads down. The season is long. [We have to] keep maximising opportunities."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter