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Sergio Perez left frustrated as strategy costs him in Las Vegas qualifying

Sergio Perez failed to make Q3 for a ninth time in the 2023 F1 season

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Sergio Perez was frustrated after Red Bull opted to bring him in before the end of Q2 in Las Vegas Grand Prix qualifying, which left him eventually falling by the wayside at the end of the session.

The Mexican will line up in 11th place behind Lewis Hamilton for the race on Saturday night (Sunday morning in UK and Europe) with him falling at the Q2 hurdle once again this season on Friday night in Vegas.

“We had a strategy before qualifying with the team,” Perez told the media. “And obviously we don’t know this place, and we were thinking what was the best programme, and we went this route.

“Obviously after that, it’s easier to know that it was the wrong call. Already in Q1 we were a bit lucky to get through because we didn’t get our final lap coming back to the pits.

“And then Q2 just finishing the session a little bit too early meant that there was some evolution still on track, and we were in the pits. I wasn’t aware that much that we were going to finish that early.

“But also, we didn’t seem to have the ultimate tenth in it today. So we were lacking a bit of pace out there. As I say this is a new place for us, so I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s how it is.”

Horner reacts to Perez elimination

‘Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner faces the press ahead of the 2023 Mexico City GP | Clive Mason/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool ‘Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner faces the press ahead of the 2023 Mexico City GP | Clive Mason/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has backed Perez all season and insists the team will obey his contract which ends at the end of 2024.

Horner didn’t criticise Perez‘s qualifying performance and is upbeat about his chances of recovering positions.

“He went a little early,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “We only took three sets of tyres into qualifying. To try and avoid getting caught in traffic on the last lap. He did the lap a little early, and was a tenth short.”

“I think that degradation could be potentially really high out there. So plenty of things to look at tomorrow, and we will see what we are able to come out with.

“I think we should be able to have a lot faster race pace than qualifying pace, so hopefully that will bring us forward tomorrow.”

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