Sergio Perez says hunt for Mexican Grand Prix pole descended into ‘a mess’

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, rides the kerb. Mexico, October 2022. Credit: Alamy
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, rides the kerb. Mexico, October 2022. Credit: Alamy

Sergio Perez thought he was in the hunt to claim pole position in front of his home crowd, but his Red Bull was seemingly not up to the task.

If the fans truly can give drivers that extra shot of pace they need on home soil, then a raucous crowd in Mexico City was pulling out all the stops to get their hero on pole.

Sadly that plan did not work out, Perez trying to hang on for much of qualifying, including using a new set of soft tyres just to make Q3 when his team-mate Max Verstappen had cleared that hurdle on a used set.

Perez dragged himself somewhere closer to the pole fight in Q3 but was forced to settle for P4, 0.353s down on Verstappen who will lead the pack away on Sunday.

That troublesome qualifying was not all down to the driver though, Perez assured, as an electrical issue he had carried through the sessions, plus a DRS fault, got in the way of his pole pursuit.

“It was a big shame. We had an electrical issue throughout qualy, with DRS we were struggling and so on,” Perez told Sky Sports F1.

“It was just important to make sure we got everything right but I was pretty much blind through qualy. I had no reference lap time, I had no information of my brake balance at times, so it was just a mess.

“And when I look back at my qualy, I nearly got knocked out in Q1 and Q2, so to be P4 is not the end of the world – but I really believe today we could have fought for pole position.”

Rather than waiting for the track to evolve, Perez was often found venturing out onto the track before his rivals, but it was not simply to soak up as much adulation from the crowd as possible.

Instead, Perez felt there was nothing to gain by delaying his entrances onto the circuit.

“We just wanted to do our own thing, we believed there was nothing to gain by going later,” he suggested.

Asked if there was not even the consideration of the track getting faster as the sessions went on, he replied: “We believed it was pretty small so we didn’t want to be out there with traffic.

“What I really liked was to have a bit of a reference for my lap, and also knowing where I was with brake balances and stuff.”

Read more: Charles Leclerc had ‘loads of problems’ with Ferrari engine in qualifying

 

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