Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Perez admits he left it “half a lap too late” to switch to slicks after Q2 exit

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez admitted he switched to slick tyres too late in Q2 after failing to reach the top 10 in qualifying for the third race weekend in a row.

The Red Bull driver started the second phase of qualifying on intermediates, as did his team mate. But Verstappen returned to the pits one lap before Perez for slick tyres.

The extra time spent on the intermediates cost Perez his opportunity to set a time on slick tyres when the track conditions were at their driest. By the time he switched to the slick rubber, the rain had returned, and he was unable to set a quick enough time to qualify in the top 10.

“It was basically half a lap too late,” said Perez, “the track position was really poor with Alfa Romeo ahead.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Canadian Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
Perez dropped back from Bottas before beginning his first flying lap in Q2, which cost him more time.

“That was always a plan to do one lap and come back onto the slick tyre,” Perez explained. “We took the decision together and we got it wrong.

“But it was literally a gamble. I think we were missing four to five tenths and then it was all down to the track.”

After he switched to slick tyres it immediately became clear they had switched too late, said Perez.

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“Once the tyres were up to temperature on the slick it started raining harder so we decided to box. And then when we went onto the inter it was all a bit too late.”

Had he changed tyres as early as Verstappen did, Perez believes he could have qualified inside the top 10. “I think there was certainly much more potential in the car to get a lap earlier,” he said. “But we just didn’t get the lap when we could have.”

His latest setback in qualifying means he faces a tall order to avoid losing further ground to Verstappen in the points standings.

“I’m definitely not feeling great,” he admitted, “not going through a great moment. But we’ve come back before and tomorrow it’s a new opportunity to hopefully get back into very strong points.”

Perez’s radio messages before changing to slick tyres

Bird How are conditions, ready for the slick yet? A few cars have gone for it.
Perez It’s getting close. How are they doing?
Bird Albon sector one a few seconds off the pace.
Bird Turn one two look to be the worst.
Perez Yeah that’s the worst part.
Bird Norris just coming out of the pits now. Positive on the brakes when you can.
Bird Turn 10
Happy to go onto the slick?
Perez Yeah I think the more laps we put in the better, no?
Bird Okay so box Checo, we’ll pit.

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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8 comments on “Perez admits he left it “half a lap too late” to switch to slicks after Q2 exit”

  1. We gave Bottas a lot of slander for his shortcomings against Hamilton in a dominant car but there is something to be said about his 103 consecutive Q3 appearances in light of Perez’s recent qualifying form.

    Reply moderated
  2. I wonder when he’ll reach Q3 again.

  3. Wonder where the “Peréz can beat Verstappen” crowd are now

  4. He wasn’t on pace all quali anyway, already in q1, if you didn’t know he was driving a red bull and you were asked what car he was driving, you could’ve assumed he was with a midfield car.

  5. This is why I feel the performance rankings after the race are usually unfair to VER, when the writers automatically deduct 2 points by default, just because he’s driving the fastest car.

    It’s not that easy to always put it on the first row, and then win the race, even if you have the best car. There are so many things that can go wrong in a weekend, so many variables and track conditions changes, that having the best car by quite a margin shouldn’t mean an automatic win. Case in point, Checo has the same car but rarely extracts the full potential.

  6. He looked not comfortable throughout quali. It already was tricky to judge anyway but being uncomfortable made him miss the crossover I feel. He was put in a good position though by RBR. Being first in line gave the drivers the most time to put in an inter lap plus time to change for softs and do multiple laps on those even

    Of course the people saying RBR are trying actively to hamper Perez won’t make note of this…

  7. Waste of a good race seat.

    Reply moderated

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