Sergio Pérez does not believe he got everything he could out of his RB18 during Qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but the Mexican still finds himself on the front row for Sunday’s race.
The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver was out of position on his final lap after a delay in the pits due to an issue with the refuelling of his car in between runs, meaning he was without a tow down the long pit straight at the Baku City Circuit when it mattered.
Pérez was still able to find enough time to put his car on the front row, but he was unable to beat Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to pole position. However, he hopes the team will be able to do something on strategy on Sunday to ensure they finish ahead of their rivals from Maranello.
“We were on the limit at times, chasing the lap time massively to try and improve but unfortunately we didn’t manage to make the most out of it,” said Pérez. “We had a little issue with the refuelling on my car in Q3, which meant we were out of sequence for our final lap but I still think that three tenths was probably too much to find to close the gap to Ferrari.
“I am still on the front row and it is a long race ahead where anything can happen, especially here. We have both cars in between the Ferraris which is a good thing.
“Tomorrow we are going to work as a Team to try and get Ferrari and it would be ideal to get a one-two – we are going to push them hard.”
“It was difficult to find a good balance here” – Max Verstappen
Team-mate Max Verstappen found himself out-qualified by Pérez for a second consecutive race weekend, with the reigning World Champion feeling he did not have a balance good enough to fight for pole position.
The current championship leader says they were unable to find a perfect set-up ahead of Qualifying, but despite this he was still able to put his RB18 third on the grid, a position that he feels he can attack on Sunday for the race victory.
“You always take quite a lot of risk and push the car to the limit on a street circuit, but you also have to be happy with the balance of the car and I didn’t have that today,” said Verstappen. “It was difficult to find a good balance here, which means we’re lacking consistency in how you approach your lap. There’s still quite a bit of work to do.
“Looking ahead to tomorrow, the run into turn one is very short but it’s a long race, let’s see what we can do. Ferrari put in some really quick laps and it looks like they have a good pace, let’s hope we can put some good pressure on them.
“Past races in Baku have shown that a lot of things can happen, we just need to stay calm and focus on having a good race tomorrow.”