Perez admits he “got caught out” by the soft tyre run in SQ3 after securing P3 for F1 Sprint in Miami

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Sergio Perez faced some unexpected challenges during Sprint Qualifying—particularly in the final, decisive segment of the session—which prevented him from securing a front-row start alongside his teammate, Max Verstappen. He will line up third for the Sprint on Saturday, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc sandwiched in between the Red Bull pair. 

Although Verstappen clinched pole, he admitted that his final effort hadn’t felt great and was surprised to learn it was enough to secure the coveted top spot, leaving him wondering what had happened to his closest competitors.

“I think given that it’s only a single shot on that soft tyre, it’s down to a bit of luck on what the car is going to do,” Perez said of the mandatory switch to softs for the eight-minute SQ3 shootout. “In the soft there is no progression. I think we got caught out with that a little bit.

“Unfortunately, that wasn’t ideal, so we’ve got some work to do there, but hopefully tomorrow we can sort it out and the most important in these days is to get the points, maximum points tomorrow in the Sprint, and then focus for the race.”

Despite the disappointment, Perez stated that it’s all to play for in the Sprint, as Red Bull have shown they have sufficient pace: “I think we’re headed in the right direction, especially for tomorrow, so hopefully we can see a stronger race pace and we can fight from there.”

He also acknowledged that it’s tricky to get the car in the right window with the short prep time and only one practice session on Sprint weekend Fridays. 

“It’s quite hard, it’s very challenging. But it’s the same for everyone. We saw the McLaren today, I think they were the fastest car out there but they just couldn’t work it out on the soft compound,” Perez said, sharing his thoughts on the session in a post-qualifying video posted by Red Bull.