An issue with fuelling the car was the problem which delayed Sergio Perez returning to the track for his final outlap in Q3, costing the Mexican the benefit of the tow and a potential pole position in Baku, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said.

Perez qualified 2nd for the Azerbaijan GP, picking up where he left off from his inaugural victory at the Monaco GP last time out with strong performances in practice and throughout qualifying.

However, as the rest of the top runners pitted for new tyres and a final attempt in Q3, Perez failed to return as quickly as the rest of the pack as the team scrambled to check the fuel in the car.

That delay ultimately cost him track position and the benefit of another car’s slipstream on the long pit straight in Baku, adding time to the lap, Horner told Sky Sports.

However, the Red Bull boss added that even a tow may not have been enough to dethrone the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc at the top of the timing sheets.

“it was a shame for Checo because he didn’t get a benefit from a tow, but then he did have a perfect outlap,” he said.

“And you can see actually his performance was pretty mighty So it would have been close, but I still don’t think we would have quite had the pace to top Charles today.”

Perez looked full of confidence throughout qualifying, pushing the car to its limits fresh off the back of his Monaco victory and signing a new contract with Red Bull which will keep him with the team through to 2024.

The qualifying result in Baku means he has also outqualified teammate Max Verstappen for the second consecutive race, with the reigning world champion having to settle for 3rd ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.