Sergio Perez did well to rebound from a difficult Free Practice 2 and Free Practice 3, to qualify fifth on Saturday for the Italian Grand Prix.
Perez has shown good pace all weekend at the ‘Temple of Speed’ but crashed at the end of FP2 on Friday.
It certainly wasn’t a good way to end the opening day of the Grand Prix, given that he had shown promise.
Thankfully, his crash Friday afternoon at Parabolica didn’t result in too big an impact with the tyre barrier, having span after touching the gravel on the outside of the corner.
Perez discussed the incident at the end of the opening day but admitted that he was actually feeling “very strong”.
“I thought I had it under control, but then I just touched a little bit the gravel and that was game over,” Perez told Sky Sports following the final session on Friday.
“It doesn’t look too bad to me, the damage. The hit was fairly small, so I don’t think we lost anything then at the end, I think two laps.
“The positive is that the car is performing well. I’m feeling comfortable with it and I think we’re in a good position for the rest of the weekend.
“I really felt that we had a very strong Friday. This has been the best Friday in a while for us.”
Despite having felt good on Friday, Saturday didn’t start in the best of ways for the Mexican driver, after Red Bull brought Perez in early following a suspected leak from the power unit.
Had this been the case, it would’ve been highly significant; however, it was reported by Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz that Red Bull actually believed it to be an oil leak.
Whilst not as big a concern, it did result in Checo completing only 16 laps in the session, compared to Max Verstappen who completed 23.
Given that he lost some running in FP3, qualifying fifth wasn’t too bad a performance from the 33-year-old, who was just under four-tenths of a second behind pole sitter Carlos Sainz.
Perez is joined on the third row by former Red Bull driver Alex Albon, who excelled once again.
Verstappen, meanwhile, qualified second and was just 0.013s slower than Sainz.
Should he keep his car clean in the opening laps, then Perez should be capable of achieving a podium finish at the very least, although Ferrari have looked quick at Monza.