“I think the track was very different,” he said. “And just getting a set on the Softs was pretty challenging, getting a rhythm on the Medium tyre as well. It was a tricky session. In the end, just having a little bit more of a clean run on my lap would have helped me probably to get pole, with Charles hitting the wall.
“But they’re just a bit stronger than us over one lap so hopefully this afternoon we are able to close the gap and beat them on race pace.”
Red Bull’s superior race pace over the rest of the field means the win later on is the “target” for Perez, who took victory in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in March.
As for the all-new sprint shootout format introduced this weekend in Azerbaijan, the 33-year-old declared himself a fan.
“It was fast and furious,” added Perez. “It won’t be long before they put a ring in the middle of the track and put all the drivers to get a fight. It was enjoyable out there.”
After going from second on Saturday afternoon, Perez will start third on Sunday after Friday’s qualifying session, which set the grid for the main race.