Perez claims mistake cost him pole position

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez was left ruing what he felt was a missed opportunity to claim a maiden Formula 1 pole position following qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Perez will line up second for Sunday’s race, recording a time less than a tenth off Lewis Hamilton’s effort.

The Mercedes driver recorded his 99th career pole position, with Max Verstappen set to line up third also within 0.1s of Hamilton’s time.

“I never expected to be here today, you know, where we were yesterday,” Perez admitted, referencing his bizarre practice crash with Esteban Ocon on Friday.

“We’ve been improving, but it’s just important to be P2.”

However, the Mexican suggested there was more to be had from the session, and that top spot was within reach.

“I should have been on pole today, I made that mistake on my final corner,” he admitted.

“I think it’s everything positive, but we just have to make sure that we keep progressing, and tomorrow is what matters.”

His performance marked the first time Verstappen had been out-qualified by a team-mate since he was partnered with Daniel Ricciardo.

The Dutchman, however, had his own tale of woe.

“I went off in Turn 3, so a bit messy, just not a good lap, but can’t be good every time,” Verstappen explained.

“So we’ll see what went wrong but it was definitely not the easiest thing, Q3, but still P3 which is a good starting position.”

While Red Bull will have its drivers line up second and third, Valtteri Bottas will start eighth in the second Mercedes.

Verstappen will start on a set of medium compound tyres, as will Hamilton on pole, but Perez will sport a set of softs.

“It’s going to be interesting, of course we have the two cars on different tyres,” Verstappen observed.

“So let’s see how that will work out, but we’ll try to make it difficult for them [Mercedes].”

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix begins at 23:00 AEST on Sunday.

Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton

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