Sergio Perez admitted being surprised to qualify in P2, as he still feels he has a lot to learn in order to start being confident behind the wheel of his Red Bull.
Yesterday, Perez created the surprise qualifying in P2, but most importantly, outqualifying Max Verstappen that had no technical issue on his car. The Mexican driver is, therefore, the first teammate of Max Verstappen to outqualify him, without the Dutch having technical issues, since 2018.
However, Perez remains calm, admitting he still has a lot to learn in the RB16B if he wants to close up to Verstappen more often. Both Red Bull drivers did a mistake in their last lap in yesterday’s qualifying session, depriving them of Pole Position. This shows that Red Bull is still not exactly where they should be as they seem to have more pace than the W12s, around Imola.
“I have a pretty good reference in Max, it’s just getting 100% all time out of the car [is difficult]. (…) I wasn’t expecting myself to be here at the moment because I feel that I am miles away from where I should be [in terms of pace],” said Perez.
“Things are not coming naturally yet. So, it’s a good boost in confidence, not just for myself, also for the team to make them feel that they have both drivers and that we can push the team forward together.”
“I’m not in a hurry, I know that I’m not where I should be, but certainly it’s positive to be up here just in my second race with the team.”
Today, Sergio Perez will start in P2 and on soft tires, as he wanted to ensure his qualification in Q3. Verstappen, on his side, will start on the second row and on medium tires, alongside Charles Leclerc.
We can therefore suppose that Perez is going to go for a very aggressive strategy to put a lot of pressure on Hamilton and push him to his limits, while his teammate should be able to have a smoother ride and maybe win the race, thanks to better tire management.