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Sergio Perez endured another difficult qualifying session in Zandvoort, which ended up with him taking seventh place ahead of tomorrow’s Dutch Grand Prix.
As it has been well-documented in the past, qualifying is very much an Achilles heel for the Mexican driver this season and today’s result is only his second best since Miami back in May. The only time he qualified better was last time out, in Spa-Francorchamps, where he qualified third.
In the qualifying session at Zandvoort, tricky conditions were on play. All driver used the intermediate tyres for the first two segments of qualifying, but the track was drying. Two red flags interrupted Q3, but the track was clear for every driver’s last flying lap and almost completely dry.
While Max Verstappen dominated and took pole position by over half a second, Perez struggled. He ended the session 1.3 seconds off his teammate and down in seventh, for another disappointing display.
After the session concluded, the Red Bull driver talked to Lawrence Barretto of F1TV about his performance and his expectations for the Grand Prix:
The conditions were very tricky out there, certainly. With the track warming up, we didn’t chose the best strategy, going for a double push when the track was at its driest. But it is always easy to know the best strategy afterwards.
Now, let’s look forward for tomorrow, because I believe that our car is very good in the race, so hopefully we can make it back onto the podium.
Marko agreed with Perez in regards to the strategy he followed in Q3, although he placed part of the blame on the Mexican too:
I think with Sergio, he did another warm-up lap and that wasn’t the right decision. Being a teammate alongside Max is one of the worst positions at the moment and we all know that Sergio is not the best qualifier.
Overtaking will be difficult, but I do hope that he can make up some ground.
Zandvoort is not a particularly strong track for Perez, as his results have not been good on the two races he has taken part there. He was eliminated in Q1 in 2021 and finished the race in eighth, while last season he started and finished only fifth.
He is now chasing his third podium in a row, in a season that has been disappointing to say the least. While it started well, his form -particularly in qualifying- has fallen off the cliff and he now trails his Red Bull teammate by 125 points, with ten races still remaining.
As for tomorrow, the expectations are mixed for Perez. While the Red Bull RB19 has been suited to race conditions much better than in qualifying, Zandvoort is not an easy track to overtake on, with just one clear opportunity, at the end of the start-finish straight.
Thankfully for Perez, there are slower cars ahead that should make for an easy target, such as the Williams of Alex Albon and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. The weather might become a factor too, with rain certainly not out of the question for the race.
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