Sergio Perez says his first Formula 1 pole position is his target after making progress with how to drive the Red Bull and setting the fastest time in Friday practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Mexican has had an inconsistent time of things since joining Red Bull this year, excelling in qualifying in Imola but on other occasions being on the back foot after Saturday and being limited in his recovery drives. While he’s yet to score a podium, Perez was extremely competitive on Friday in Baku and led teammate Max Verstappen in FP2, a result he believes shows how much he has improved with experience of the Red Bull car.
“Yeah, I think we’ve done very good progress,” Perez said. “After Monaco, we did a very deep analysis and today, I was like, ‘Well I finally understand this car a bit more, how I need to drive it’ and so on.
“So in all regards, I think this is the best Friday of the season, the most complete Friday in terms of data, in terms of how comfortable I feel with the car. Hopefully tomorrow we are able to get a good, clean lap, which is very important.
“That (pole) would be the target, of course, but tomorrow is when it matters. We have some work to do overnight to try to get a couple of tenths and then we can be in the mix.”
Verstappen was quickest in FP1 before ending up 0.1s off his teammate in the second session. The Dutchman believes he went slightly the wrong way in terms of setup changes but is encouraged by the overall pace Red Bull has compared to the rest of the field.
“Performance-wise, I think we had a great start to the weekend. The car in FP1 felt really decent,” Verstappen said. “I was quite comfortable and then for FP2, we made a few changes to see if it would be better but I think we went a bit backwards. We will look overnight at what direction we will go into but nevertheless for the team it was a very good day. So far I think we look pretty strong.”