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Perez believes difficult Imola weekend was ‘one-off’ as he explains what compromised his race

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IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 19: 8th placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on in

Sergio Perez feels that his P8 result in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was the “maximum” he could have achieved, having attempted a “risky” strategy after a difficult qualifying on Saturday left him down in P11 on the grid.

While much of the field started the race on the medium tyre, Perez was one of just three drivers to opt for the hard compound. As such, the Mexican tried to go long on his opening stint and along the way had an excursion across the gravel on Lap 18, losing several seconds in the process.

READ MORE: Verstappen holds off thrilling late charge from Norris to win Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

After finally making a pit stop for the medium rubber on Lap 38 of 63, Perez returned to the track in 11th before picking off Nico Hulkenberg and Yuki Tsunoda to take eighth place.

Quizzed after the race on whether the outcome was the best he could have fought back to, the Red Bull driver answered: “Yeah, I think pretty much it was the maximum we could have achieved, given where we started.

Perez has dropped to third in the title standings after Imola

Perez has dropped to third in the title standings after Imola

“We risked it, we knew that it was a very risky strategy and the teams were not favouring that strategy.

“But we were dreaming a bit with the [possibility of a] Safety Car at the right point for us, and also I think it was really bad… Going off, I was playing with the balance to try and protect a little bit the rear axle, and I just went straight into Turn 16.

READ MORE: Verstappen thrilled to take Imola victory as he reflects on ‘very difficult’ issue during late-race challenge from Norris

“That meant that I feel like I picked up some damage, and that compromised also the race. I lost six, seven seconds, and that put me really close to people behind.”

Perez convinced he picked up damage which compromised his race in Imola

Having displayed consistency throughout most weekends so far in 2024 prior to Imola, Perez believes that his difficulties at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari were an outlier.

“I think we just had a one-off, even though the weekend has been strong all the way to quali,” he explained. “Unfortunately we just didn’t manage to get a proper qualifying.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix as Verstappen wins in nail-biting finish

With the result marking his worst of the campaign, Perez has now dropped from second to third in the drivers’ standings, though he sits just six points away from Charles Leclerc in P2.

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