Sergio Perez was left rueing a mistake in qualifying that prevented him from being on the front row for the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Mexican used a second set of Soft tyres during his runs in Q2 after both McLaren drivers were ahead in the initial runs, despite his lap time being safe enough to get into Q3.
The use of the extra set meant that he only had one new set for the final runs in Q3, with Perez emerging on a used set for his first attempt and saving the last for his final run.
His lap was only good enough for fifth on the grid and seven-tenths off team-mate Max Verstappen’s pole lap.
Perez felt the extra set in Q3 could have made the difference when discussing with media, including RacingNews365: “Definitely P2 and the front row was on the cards today,” he said.
“Using that second set in Q2 was not ideal and that put us on the back-foot to McLaren, mainly by not having a set of new tyres.
“Let’s look forward to tomorrow, we believe that in the race pace, we are strong, and we have good tyre degradation.
“Hopefully we can finish one-two tomorrow and seal the Constructors’ title.”
Perez: McLaren will not be easy
Perez expects it will be tough to pass both McLaren’s as he looks to get into the podium positions, which would enable Red Bull to seal the Constructors Championship.
“They’re pretty strong in the first sector, so they’re not going to be easy to pass,” he explained.
Drivers were mainly constrained to one run on the Soft tyres in qualifying, owing to the high tyre degradation around Suzuka.
When asked if that will carry over into the race, Perez added: “I believe that the tyre degradation is going to be quite critical [in the race].”