Perez sees 'light out of the tunnel' despite latest struggles


Sergio Perez feels that he's finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to getting on top of his recent problems in qualifying.

The Red Bull driver has missed the first cut in consecutive qualifying sessons in Monaco and Montreal. On Saturday he progressed all the way to the final round for the first time since Miami, but it was still a struggle.

He made a mistake on his Q3 lap which meant he finished eighth on the timesheets. But a three-place grid penalty held over from the last race means he will actually start the Spanish Grand Prix from 11th.

“I am not happy with my position today, the target was to be higher up," he admitted afterwards. "It was a tricky qualifying, we struggled initially and we burned through the tyres quickly.

"It meant we weren’t able to extract the maximum out of it. My final lap wasn’t as clean as it needed to be in Q3. I didn’t have enough of a rhythm or a pace.

"Unfortunately, my final sector lost a bit too much," he told the media. "I think we could have been a lot closer. We only had one single set [of soft tyres] so it made things a little bit tricky that the wind changed a bit.

"I think we're just getting there but margins are so small. I think to really find those things, I needed the progression, and I didn't have that progression through the weekend.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB20. 22.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Rew / XPB Images

"Overall, I think we've been a little bit too far this weekend. We've been chasing the balance every now and then. But I feel like we've done some good steps which made me feel a little bit more comfortable.

"We've compromised a little bit of qualifying [performance] for hopefully a good tyre degradation," he added. "Tyre issues have been also a bit of a holdout so it's been quite hard to pick up a direction over the weekend.

"We've been exploring the car quite a lot, a little bit too much," he admitted. "Here it was more of a balance limitation that I struggled with. The gap to Max has been a little bit too far on the weekend so we've got some work to do."

Perez didn't have much better fortune here last year, although he explained that the problems in 2023 had been entirely different. "Last year it was down to the conditions. It was damp and I went out in Q2.

"Here it's been much more of a struggle than last year," he admitted. "Last year it was down to the conditions. It was damp and I went out in Q2." But he feels that they have made progress with the car's set-up.

"We're finding the light out of the tunnel," he insisted. "We have made some good changes so we should be on the right track for Sunday.

"It will be a difficult race from P11 with the grid penalty and it will be very important to be patient and get the right opportunities, especially if it’s wet because anything can happen.

"We have to be ready to be out there when it matters. Hopefully we are able to secure some good points and take them away from our rivals," he said. "Hopefully we'll be able to show some good race pace, and turn the page quickly."

"It's good to see Checo stepping back into Q3," commented Red Bull boss Christian Horner. "He will have some work to do with the three place penalty putting him in 11th, but it’s all to play for tomorrow."

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