Reputedly the street circuit king in Formula 1, Sergio Perez admits he wasn’t “driving really well” in Friday’s practices for the Miami Grand Prix.
Perez arrived in Miami on the back of his Azerbaijan Grand Prix win, the Red Bull driver the favourite along with his team-mate Max Verstappen to claim the win on Sunday.
But while Verstappen lived up to that billing with a P1 in Friday’s second practice, Red Bull having opted to focus on race pace in the first session rather than hot laps, Perez was half a second down on his team-mate.
The Mexican racer says he had only himself to blame for the unexpected deficit.
“I haven’t had the greatest of Fridays, and my lap was also pretty bad where I locked up on the final corner,” he declared.
“So there’s quite a bit more to come, and together with my driving, I’m not driving really well.
“If I improve my driving, and get myself a bit more comfortable, I should be alright.
“It is these low grip conditions, especially with the things that we tried in FP1, but yeah, it is all small margins.
“The grip especially in FP1 felt like inter conditions, or wet-to-inter conditions.
“We were trying a few things with the mechanical balance, and learned quite a bit in the long run.
“I don’t think we got a race [pace] because of the very few laps that we ended up doing out there, but we’ve got a good baseline.”
As for Verstappen, who topped the timesheet with a 1:27.930 to sit 0.385s ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, he says it was a “good day.
“Initially, it was getting used to the track a bit – it was ramping up a lot throughout the day,” he explained.
“I always felt good in the car and we had good balance in it.
“It is still slippery off-line but on the driving line, it is okay. As soon as you get off line there is a lot less grip. It is the same for everyone.”
Wet weather has been forecast to hit Miami across the weekend and could prove an unwanted curveball for Red Bull given its dominance across the first four races of the campaign.
“There are still a few little things we need to look at [overnight],” added two-time World Champion Verstappen.
“Ideally, we want to be fast on every corner but that is not always possible but we also have to see what the weather will do.”
Perez will line up on Sunday’s grand prix grid six points behind Verstappen with the Mexican driver having recorded his best-ever start to an F1 season.