Sergio Perez conceded he still feels “miles away” from his potential in Red Bull’s RB16B despite missing out on a maiden Formula 1 pole position by just hundredths of a second.
Perez claimed the first front-row start of his near 200-race career in a closely-contested Q3 session at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Perez finished just 0.035s behind polesitter Lewis Hamilton, despite a mistake at the final corner, as he edged Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen for second spot.
The Mexican outlined that the error was “enough to be on pole position” but outlined that he is still getting to grips with the RB16B.
“I have a pretty good reference in Max, he is just getting 100 per cent all the time out of the car, and just adapting myself to it,” said Perez.
“I’m learning, step by step, I wasn’t expecting myself to be here at the moment as I feel I am miles away from where I should be.
“Things are not coming naturally yet – so it’s good, a good boost in confidence, not just for myself, but also for the team to make them feel they have both drivers [at the front] and we can push the team forward together, that’s the important bit.”
Speaking about the session Perez said: “It was a very, very good session from our side.
“Every time we are in the car we are making big steps, so it was a good session in that regard because every time I am driving this car I am learning something new and that’s pretty good.
“If there is a place you don’t want to come in your second race with a new team it’s probably Imola – it’s one of the most difficult circuits around to put a lap together, the limit is so narrow, you are millimetres all the time from the grass.
“To be there, to be here, in my second race is a pretty good step from our side.”