Sergio Perez believes he would have claimed his first-ever pole position in Formula 1 had it not been for a last-corner mistake on his final lap of qualifying.

The Mexican ended up just 0.035s down on polesitter Lewis Hamilton as he inflicted Max Verstappen’s first qualifying defeat by a teammate in F1 since 2019 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

But Perez was left to rue a small mistake coming out of the final corner which he feels cost him the chance of taking top spot for the first time in his career.

“I should have been on pole today," Perez said. “I did a mistake on my final corner, so I think it's everything positive.

“But we just have to make sure that we keep progressing, and tomorrow is what matters.”

Asked how much he believes the mistake cost him, Perez replied: “Enough to be on pole position.”

Perez’s incredible qualifying performance came just 24 hours after a difficult Friday at Imola that saw him collide with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in first practice and struggle to match the pace of his teammate in FP2.

“I have to say well done to the team,” he explained. “Yesterday I made a mistake and I made them work hard during the day, so it's a good recovery.

“But the most important is always showing progress. I never expected to be here today where we were yesterday. We've been improving, but it's just important to be P2.”

And Perez is full of confidence heading into the race as he looks to score his first victory for Red Bull and add to his maiden win at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

“I think anything can happen tomorrow," Perez said. “We are on a different strategy to Lewis and Max. And so, it's gonna be interesting to see what we can do.

“Most important [is to] get those points, get battling, which is priority at the moment."

 

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