Sergio Perez suffered an embarrassing early elimination from Dutch Grand Prix qualifying after a slow out-lap meant he failed to start his final flying lap in time in Q1.
The Red Bull driver – newly re-signed for 2022 – will start the Zandvoort race from 16th while team-mate Max Verstappen took pole position.
“Very disappointed today because we had such a fantastic car,” Perez told Sky Sports. “We’ve had everything we possibly could.
“We were making very good progress and I think we had big potential for today. I think we misjudged a couple of things.
“You know, we were probably carrying a bit too much fuel for the start of Q1. Our cut-off was less safe than we thought.”
Perez was sent out at the back of a queue of cars for the final runs in the opening segment, which cost him time.
Eighth-placed at that moment, he was told by the team that being “a bit slow to leave the pitlane” meant he needed to “push on a bit”.
But Perez proceeded to have a slow preparation lap and while there was a car fairly close ahead for the first half of the lap by the time he made it to the final sector there was quite a lot of clear space ahead.
He was told by his engineer “you need to push, Checo, push on a bit now” as he approached the chicane towards the end of the lap but he was still limiting his speed.
As he exited the chicane he seemed to hesitate as there was briefly sight of one final car at the apex of the penultimate corner, before getting one final hurry-up to start the lap.
Unfortunately for Perez he was too late and was met with the chequered flag just as he was about to cross the line and start his final attempt.
Perez blamed “people making gaps in the pitlane” for creating that off-set that ultimately led to him missing out, but team principal Christian Horner made it clear that the out-lap should’ve also been quicker.
“I think his out-lap was just that little bit slow, so frustrating because obviously we shouldn’t have a car out in Q1,” Horner told Sky.
“It’s such a short circuit but, you know, 20/20 vision, we should have sent him out a little earlier. But yeah, certainly a quicker out-lap [was needed]. He had enough space to start that lap.
“Unfortunately he’s missed it by about a second, so [that’s] very frustrating.”
Perez said on his out-lap “I didn’t know how critical it was”, which tallies with the messages he’d received only being instructions to “push” rather than specifying by how much.
But asked by The Race if this was an area to improve in the future, giving more detailed information, Perez said he did not want to point fingers.
“That’s something that I’d like to discuss with my engineers and learn from what we’ve done wrong,” he said.
“I don’t want to put the blame into a single individual. I think we’re all to blame.”
Perez did, however, describe the result as “a massive blow”, as he felt the pace was there to put the car on the front row.