Sergio Perez believes his absence from first practice in Spain was a big factor in his tyre frustrations en route to qualifying fifth.
The Red Bull driver was almost seven-tenths of a second adrift of Charles Leclerc's pole position time, with the Mexican qualifying behind the two Ferraris, teammate Max Verstappen and Mercedes' George Russell.
With teams forced to conduct 'young driver' practice sessions twice per season, Red Bull elected to run Formula 2 racer Juri Vips in practice one, with Perez being the driver to sit out the one hour of running.
Perez's qualifying session "didn't go to plan"
Speaking to media after qualifying, Perez argued that his omission from FP1 was the main reason for his tyre struggles in qualifying.
"It didn't go to plan," Perez admitted to media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I think it was very costly for our side to miss FP1 because, the way the tyres have been behaving this weekend, it's [affected] our single-lap [pace], and it's been really hard to catch up.
"I wasn't entirely comfortable with the car or with the tyres. The car was just too much on the edge.
"The tyres overheat with the energy we put into sector one and sector two and we haven't been to a track with these temperatures – that seems to be really difficult."
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Looking ahead to the Spanish Grand Prix, Perez believes he can still salvage a strong result from the weekend.
"I'm still optimistic for tomorrow," commented Perez.
"It will be important to get a good start and get as many positions as possible – just go forwards and full attack.
"I'm only P5 and it's a very long race ahead. The tyres are going to be doing very weird things tomorrow."
When asked if he was surprised to see a Mercedes qualifying ahead of him, he commented that he expected them to close the gap to the leading teams.
"No, I think they have already shown in Miami they have been strong, so I think it was just a matter of time before they join the club," Perez added, with Lewis Hamilton set to line up just behind him in the other W13.
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