Sergio Perez has revealed he was left “blind” by the setting sun during his final qualifying runs after two lengthy red flag delays at the Baku City Circuit. The Mexican will line up third on the grid for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after finishing slower than Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen and polesitter Charles Leclerc, who was almost three-tenths quicker than Perez for Ferrari. Explaining a scrappy final run cost him a chance of pole, Perez told media including : “I think Turn 3, I lost more than a tenth. I went really deep and just in general, not putting a clean lap [together]. “With so many corners, there is always a combination that can be a bit tricky, so I think all in all it wasn’t a quick lap. I certainly have more pace than I have shown but I am still in the fight. “With these tricky qualifying, with very little time to get ready for quali, it was just important to make sure we are in a good position for Sunday.” Pierre Gasly and Nyck de Vries both crashed out of Q1, with extensive damage to the cars and barriers at Turn 3 leading to lengthy delays – the session lasting 46 minutes. With the sun setting in the Azeri evening, Perez conceded: “I was pretty much blind going through the chicane, through the castle. “It was pretty difficult but I had a reference so I knew where to stick it so it worked out alright.” The top-three finish in qualifying for Perez was a welcome bounce back from struggles at the Australian Grand Prix before the spring break that saw him qualify last after beaching his Red Bull in the gravel. “I am getting back my confidence,” Perez insisted. “It really knocked my confidence, what happened in Melbourne – especially with the three-week break and then you go straight into qualifying and it is all about braking here and having that confidence with the braking. I am getting there.”

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