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Sergio Perez

Perez laments mistake that prevented Japan pole bid

Sergio Perez banked a first career top-three start at Suzuka, being pipped by team-mate Max Verstappen to pole.

Perez Japan
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Sergio Perez has lamented a mistake on his out-lap that he felt prevented a shot at pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Perez qualified second at Suzuka, just 0.066s down on team-mate Max Verstappen, who earned a fifth straight P1 start, having found time on his second Q3 lap, before Verstappen also improved by 0.043s.

It is Perez's first-ever top three start in Japan, with the Mexican observing difficult conditions, especially in the final sector of the lap.

"It was close today with Max, and it felt like a really good lap," Perez explained.

"It was tricky out there, especially closing out the lap, it was quite easy to lose a couple of tenths in the last sector and into the chicane, we hooked it all together, but unfortunately, it was just not enough."

Fine margins

With the run out of the chicane crucial to setting up a good lap at Suzuka, Perez highlighted this the area he felt he lost time compared to Verstappen, with the two being "really close" throughout the weekend.

"We've been really close all weekend, all the way through qualifying, and when you have the little margins, anything can make a difference," he added.

"I didn't have a great exit opening up the lap, so it could have been different but I think we are in a good position for tomorrow.

"Our long run pace wasn't that strong this morning, but we've worked quite a bit on it and hopefully we will be able to be strong [in the race]."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying