Sergio Perez says a difficult out-lap played a major role in his Q2 elimination during qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix.
A number of big-name drivers were in the drop zone ahead of their final attempts in the second part of qualifying, with Perez one of those who needed a clear improvement to advance. Switching from medium to soft tires to try and get through, Perez fell a little over 0.1s short in 11th place, and says pre-qualifying changes made the car more competitive but he didn’t get the tires working for his crucial lap.
Unlucky Checo 😩
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“We changed the spec of rear wing — we went up in downforce,” Perez said. “I think it was the right direction but today it was more of a tire preparation (issue). I couldn’t have a clean out-lap at all — somehow I was good at finding a lot of traffic and that was hurting quite a bit going into the first sector with very cold tires and then probably overheating it into the final sector.”
Still, Perez is confident there was the performance in the car to be at the front of the grid, so is hoping to use that to fight back on Sunday.
“Yeah, I think we had the pace, definitely, to do much better than what we were able to do. We had everything in hand to really make a strong qualifying — we were quick all weekend, quick in FP3, but unfortunately we didn’t put it together when it mattered.
“I think there’s a long way to go, there’s a lot that can still happen in the race so we will give our best and hopefully get a lot of points.”