Sergio Perez has said having one less set of tyres for the final part of qualifying ultimately hampered his ability to compete at the front of the grid for the Japanese GP.
Perez will start the race in Suzuka from fifth after he qualified almost eight tenths behind Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen on pole, with Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris putting their McLarens second and third respectively.
The Mexican had struggled to keep pace with the dominant Verstappen, and will also be behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc off the start line, but he told media after the session that having to use one set of soft tyres in Q3 had hurt his push for the front row.
“You know, I think that P2 was on the cards today, but missing that second set of tyres was not ideal. And that put us on the backfoot. Mainly by just having one set of new tyres. That was not ideal,” Perez said.
“But anyway, let’s look forward to tomorrow. We believe that in the race pace we are strong, we have good tyre deg, and hopefully we can finish one-two tomorrow.
“And that will be a great way to go to seal the Constructors (Championship).”
Verstappen looked untouchable throughout the qualifying session in Japan, and appears set for another stroll to the finish line if he can fend off any challenge from the McLaren pair or others off the start line, and Perez praised his teammate’s performance at the iconic circuit.
“He has been very strong, when we see the difference that he is making he definitely had a tremendous lap.
“Well done to him.”