Sergio Perez will be taking off from the front-row tomorrow, in P2 – following a belter of a performance during Qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton landed his 99th career Pole Position after an incredibly close final shootout for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix starting grid.
Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen proved themselves to be Hamilton’s closest rivals this afternoon, and will be fighting for the podium steps from P2 and P3 respectively.
Following the Bahrain Grand Prix, spectators were left wondering if Perez could give Verstappen a run for his money, and it looks as if the 31-year-old is doing just that.
This marks Perez’s first career front-row start, but the calm Mexican driver won’t get “too carried away” ahead of tomorrow’s battle:
“What a massive result for us, knowing that I could win the race tomorrow is definitely a good feeling”, he said.
“There are a lot of positives to take out of today but I made a little mistake at the final turn, I was so close to pole.
“I can’t believe this is my first Red Bull start on the grid, as I started from the pit lane in Bahrain and it’s from the front of the grid! It just shows the amount of work we have put into this as a Team is paying off.
“Looking to the race tomorrow, Max and I are of course on different strategies, I am starting on the softs and Max is on the mediums so I think we have a good race ahead of us, especially as we’ve been able to apply the pressure to Mercedes.
“It was a great result for us today but we can’t get too carried away, I know that there is a lot of work to be done and it’s important that we keep making good process.”
Red Bull Racing Team Principal, Christian Horner says it’s “incredibly satisfying” to have both drivers in with a shot of pole:
He said: “It was a great Team performance today with our best qualifying result in Italy since 2013.
“Sergio did a fantastic job in just his second qualifying session for us and it was a shame for Max who made an uncharacteristic mistake at Turn 3 on his final run in Q3.
“It’s incredibly satisfying to see both drivers up there and in with a shot at pole, especially in a nail-biting session where the top three were separated by less than a tenth.
“Sergio is really finding his feet and today marks his best F1 starting grid position. With minimal seat time he’s doing a great job and settling into the Team very well.
“We’re in a good position and with both drivers on alternative strategies, we’ve got a few options which we’ll work on this evening to bring home the best possible result tomorrow.
“It should make for an exciting Grand Prix.”