Reflecting on the incident, Perez explained: “I understeered off at the exit and tried to keep it nailed. I thought I had it under control but then I touched a little bit the gravel and that was it, game over.
“It doesn’t look too bad the damage; it was fairly small, and I don’t think we lost anything there at the end, two laps, so nothing representative in that regard.
“The positive is that the car is performing well, I’m feeling comfortable with it and I feel that we’re in a good position for the rest of the weekend. I really felt that we had a very strong Friday.”
Perez is aiming to bring an end to a winless run that stretches back to April and deny Verstappen claiming victory for the 10th consecutive time on Sunday.
Having underlined “This has been the best Friday in a while for us”, Perez believes his side of the garage has made positive advances to counter his recent struggles.
When asked if his encouraging opening day at Monza set him up nicely for the weekend, he responded: “Definitely it does. We’ve been working really hard, I think we’ve found some positive steps in the car so hopefully we can show it tomorrow and Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Verstappen was left to rue traffic in the middle sector on his fastest run denying him a clean run in FP2.
The reigning champion clocked the fastest time in the opening session but slipped down to fifth in the afternoon, almost three-tenths shy of Carlos Sainz’s benchmark time.
But Verstappen is still “confident” that Red Bull will make the progress needed overnight to reassert itself at the top of the timesheets come qualifying tomorrow.
“Well, I mean, we’ve been trying a few different wing levels and I think we still need to analyse a bit what way to go,” Verstappen discussed. “It’s sometimes a bit of a tricky thing around Monza.
“From my side, it probably could have been a little bit better, so still fine-tuning a bit the low-speed to the high-speed, but I’m quite confident of course that we’ll get there. Also I was a bit interrupted in FP2 to get a proper read on a few things, [so] still a bit of work to do.”
Questioned on how tricky it is to get an accurate reading on things amid a multitude of changes, the Dutchman stated: “I think the running in general was okay, but in the short run I was blocked a bit in sector two, then in the long run we didn’t really get to do a lot of laps, so you don’t really get a good idea on it. At the end of the day, in the long run, that’s the same for everyone.”
Despite Sainz delivering on the pre-weekend predictions that Ferrari would be strong, Verstappen is remaining coy on who will be Red Bull’s strongest challenger in Italy.
“We’ll have to wait and see until everyone ramps up their engines as well,” he assessed. “I think from our side of course we can do a better job but it’s not been the end of the world as well.”