Sergio Perez denies new Red Bull upgrades don’t suit him after early Imola quali exit

Henry Valantine
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez at Imola.

Sergio Perez was knocked out in Q2 at Imola after a crash in free practice.

Sergio Perez stated that the upgrades placed on his Red Bull played no part in his Q2 exit at Imola on Saturday, instead saying it is just a “tricky track to get properly right.”

He pointed to a lock-up that cost him two crucial tenths as he was knocked out in P11 while team-mate Max Verstappen pipped the McLaren duo to pole position, with the Mexican due to fight his way back into the points when the race gets underway on Sunday.

Sergio Perez denies new Red Bull upgrades influenced early qualifying exit at Imola

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Perez was out-qualified by both RB drivers on Saturday, Red Bull’s sister team, as the Faenza-based outfit enjoyed their best-combined qualifying session of the season so far.

Perez had already been in the barriers earlier on Saturday when he crashed out of FP3 at Variante Alta, but when pressed for potential reasons behind his exit, Perez denied that

When asked if the new parts on the RB20 had put him on the back foot in qualifying, Perez responded to media including PlanetF1.com after qualifying: “No, I think it’s just a very tricky track to get properly right.

“We were playing a lot with the car, with a lot of stuff – with the ride, with the setup here and there, and we just tried everything.

“I think it was good to see Max make a lot of progress, and I felt from my side that the car was getting better. But unfortunately, we just didn’t get to show it.”

What have we learned from the Imola weekend so far?

👉 Emilia-Romagna GP: Data shows ‘tow buddy’ helped Max Verstappen on way to Imola pole

👉 F1 starting grid: What is the grid order for the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola?

When it was put to him that previous Red Bull cars have seemingly gone away from him in terms of development direction and been ‘more friendly’ to his team-mate’s driving style, Perez was quick to dispel that notion, adding: “No, I think I’ve had a pretty strong weekend up to now.

“In terms of long run pace, in terms of confidence, I think we’ve been making progress, but I think it was just a very unfortunate qualifying session.”

On what in particular made Red Bull struggle through practice, he said: “I think mainly one of the issues is the ride, kerbing. You have a lot of kerbs around here.

“And just balance, you need that confidence on the entry to be able to take those medium speed corners, those braking corners – and I think if the balance is a little bit off, it can be very costly.

“I think everyone is in a very similar boat. We certainly have done a lot in the setup throughout the weekend.

“But it’s a shame, when I see Max up there, we definitely had the pace to do a lot more today.”

Read next: Follow PlanetF1.com’s WhatsApp and Facebook channels for all the F1 breaking news!