Red Bull racing driver Sergio Perez claims that he should have been on pole position for this Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Imola.
Perez will line up in second place just behind reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Perez came in just .035 seconds behind Hamilton, followed by his red Bull teammate Max Verstappen.
This is the Mexican's first front-row start despite being already considered an F1 veteran. Perez has had a long career that took him racing with Force India and Racing Point (now Aston Martin) before making the move to Red Bull this season. That's a total of 192 starts outside the front row.
However, an F1 driver is bred to dream big and to keep aiming higher. After securing a Red Bull seat following an impressive 2020 season with Racing Point, Perez is determined to show the world that he is not going to be Verstappen's lap dog in the second Red Bull seat.
He says that save for a small mistake in his final flying lap last night, he would have taken pole off Hamilton. "I should have been on pole today; I did a mistake on my final corner. I think it's everything positive. We just have to make sure that we keep progressing – tomorrow is what matters," he told the press after the qualifying session.
Perez was lucky to even be in the front row after a mishap during free practice on Friday. He collided with Esteban Ocon, leaving his mechanics with a lot of work overnight before qualifying.
"First of all I have to say well done to the team. Yesterday I made a mistake and made them work hard during the day so it's a good recovery. The most important thing is that we show progress. I never expected to be here today, you know [considering] where we were yesterday. We've been improving but it's just important to be P2."
Max Verstappen will be feeling the heat in the Red Bull garage, as this is the first time that a teammate seems determined to challenge his number 1 driver status within the team. The question is, will that strategy help the team, or did Christian Horner hire a rock that he will be knocking against his own head? No one wants to see a conflict between their own drivers, and it remains to be seen if any drama will emerge from the Red Bull camp.