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Perez says he felt 'far from 100%' with shoulder issue en route to disappointing P8 in qualifying

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While Max Verstappen took P2 on the grid for Red Bull in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying, team mate Sergio Perez could only muster up P8 – and the Mexican later revealed he was nursing a shoulder issue throughout the session.

The former Racing Point driver, who spun at Turn 13 in Q3, was eventually 0.960s off Hamilton’s pace in qualifying on Saturday and starts on the fourth row of the grid alongside Daniel Ricciardo on Sunday. After the session, Perez was asked how he was feeling.

READ MORE: Verstappen happy 'to be that close' to Mercedes with P2 on the grid after Q1 struggles

“A lot better, thank you. I just felt a bit weak going into qualifying, and it was just getting worse and worse throughout,” he said, and later added: “I had a bit of an issue with my [left] shoulder through qualifying, and I was just feeling bad, all the way through it. It was just getting worse and worse as quali developed and I did struggle a bit more with it.

“I’ve been with the doctors from the team, and it should be all good for tomorrow and yes, just looking forward to it. I was far from 100% especially as qualifying progressed today,” said Perez.

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2021 Spanish GP Qualifying: Perez spins at Turn 13 during FP3

Red Bull’s latest recruit also struggled for pace in FP3, taking 10th as Verstappen took P1. But the consolation for Perez at the end of Saturday, he said, was that he still made it to Q3 and set a time in a testing final session.

READ MORE: Ferrari duo hoping to fend off McLaren on race day after Leclerc qualifies a brilliant P4 in Spain

“It just shows the good car that we have, but obviously, it was a very tough qualifying out there not being at my 100, not being able to progress through qualifying,” he said. “I feel a lot better now already, so hopefully tomorrow I can be back at my 100%.”

Perez missed the 2020 British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix having contracted coronavirus, but returned to finish fifth in last year’s Spanish GP from P4 on the grid. Tomorrow he starts eighth in Spain with 22 points to his tally – exactly the same score he had after three races in 2020.

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