Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says Sergio Perez missed out on half a second in lap time due to not having a slipstream at the end of qualifying for Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix.
The Mexican was the first to emerge from his pit box for the final fast laps of the session, with team-mate Max Verstappen behind.
Perez ended the session in ninth, while Verstappen was third-fastest, securing himself a spot behind the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton for the start of the F1 Sprint on Saturday.
“That’s a good team result, Checo has played a key role today,” Horner said.
“He did a great job giving Max the tow and allowing him the benefit of a hole in the air, it probably cost Checo half a second, and he should have been higher than where he is. So we are pretty happy with where we have finished.
“The sprint race tomorrow is going to be exciting and then of course we’ll see what happens in the race on Sunday.”
Having secured a mid-pack starting position for the shorter race on Saturday, which determines the starting grid for Sunday’s grand prix, Perez is eyeing up overtakes in the F1 Sprint to begin in a stronger position for the main race.
“We were struggling there,” Perez said. “We are obviously aiming for a strong race, we’re really low on downforce and just trying to optimize the Sunday come Sunday.
“Hopefully that will pay us back and tomorrow in the Sprint race hopefully we can make up some positions and come through the field. The long run looked promising, so just looking forward to it.
“The Sprint will be quite hard because it will be a DRS train very early on but it’s still a long race and a lot of things can happen tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to it.”