“Front lock” at turn 7 cost me “two and a half tenths” — Sergio Perez opens up on shock Q2 exit at F1 Imola GP

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Sergio Perez discussed what happened behind the costly error during the qualifying at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, citing a lock-up that ended his chances of making it into Q3.

Red Bull had been struggling on Friday but turn things around on Saturday, at least on Max Verstappen’s side of the garage.

A small crash in FP3 left Perez on the back foot heading into qualifying. Finishing P12 in Q1, a 1:15.706 in Q2 saw him end up only P11 and missing out on Q3.

Perez was 0.015s slower than Daniel Ricciardo who was P10. A mistake at turn 7 ruined his lap, according to the Mexican.

“I think we were making some good progress, especially for this morning, also for the long run. I think we’ve been playing with the car quite a lot, probably the most through the weekend.

“Unfortunately, I think my first lap in Q1 wasn’t ideal and we thought we were not safe, so we put another set of new tyres.

“By doing that, it basically meant that I was on used tyres for my final run of quali. And when I put a new tyre into Q2, I just picked up a lot of rear grip and I went straight into Turn 7, front lock, lost two and a half tenths, which given that the margins were extremely tight, I just didn’t make it through.”

Perez said the track was extremely tricky to get right and wasn’t about general car issues when asked about their difficulties during free practice.

“No, I think it’s just a very tricky track to get it properly right. We were playing a lot with the car, with a lot of stuff with the ride, with the setup, here and there. We just tried everything.

“I think it was good to see Max made a lot of progress. I felt from my side that the car was getting better, but unfortunately we just didn’t get to show it.”

The 34-year-old did not think he had a bad weekend up until qualifying, and felt that his pace was good in the Red Bull car. It’s the first time he has missed out on Q3 in 2024.

“No, I think I’ve had a pretty strong weekend up to now in terms of pace, in terms of long run pace, in terms of confidence. I think we’ve been making that sort of progress. It was just a very unfortunate qualifying.

“We certainly have done a lot in the set-up throughout the weekend. But it’s a shame. When I see Max up there, we definitely had the pace to do well.”