Sergio Perez setting ambitious target despite Q2 exit in Barcelona

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez in the gravel. Barcelona June 2023.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez crawls through the gravel on the exit of Turn 5. Barcelona June 2023.

Sergio Perez has set himself the aim of recovering to at least a place on the podium after being knocked out in Q2 in Spain on Saturday.

The Mexican was caught out by a damp patch on a drying track early on in Q1 and just about scraped through the first part of qualifying, making it through to Q2 by finishing 15th as Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc went out entirely.

But despite that reprieve, the Red Bull driver was unable to get through to the top 10 shootout, qualifying P11 for the Spanish Grand Prix in another setback to his World Championship chances, with team-mate Max Verstappen having taken pole position by almost half a second from Carlos Sainz.

Even though he will begin the race from the midfield, the Mexican is hopeful he will be able to work his way back up through the pack again, while driving the fastest car in the field on Sunday.

“I think it was a little bit damp going into Turn 5 and I ended up losing the car, unfortunately,” Perez said of his trip to the gravel after qualifying finished.

“I hope I can recover everything and get to the podium, that would be an ideal scenario for us tomorrow, but we will try everything we possibly can.” recommends

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As for Sainz, starting from the front row at his home race for the first time, he too fully expects Perez to come charging through the pack – believing that Red Bull hold as much as a second per lap in race pace advantage over the rest of the field.

When it comes to the rest of the drivers around him, he will expect a tight fight to hold on to a place on the podium come Sunday – even if he is expecting the Red Bull to fly past him at some point during the Spanish Grand Prix.

“I think it will be still tough to get, especially Checo coming from P11 with a Red Bull,” Sainz said of his podium chances after qualifying.

“But as soon as I get back to the engineers, I think they will tell me that the simulation suggests that the Red Bull should still finish ahead of us and then it will be a fight with Lando [Norris] and Mercedes.

“The Astons, I don’t know exactly what happened to them today, but they normally have really, really good race pace.

“So yeah, I think it’s still going to be a tough, tough call to get a podium tomorrow.

“So we put ourselves in the best possible position to achieve that but I still think it’s going to be a good fight for it tomorrow.”