Red Bull senior advisor Helmut Marko pointed to the timing of a switch to slick tyres as an “excuse” for Sergio Perez after a fresh Q1 exit at Silverstone, with race progress predicted to be limited.

As the Silverstone track quickly dried following a pre-qualifying downpour, Perez was among the first drivers to take the plunge by swapping to dry tyres in Q1, but it was a choice which soon backfired.

Helmut Marko finds tyre ‘excuse’ for Sergio Perez

Perez would go sliding into the gravel down at Turn 9, his Red Bull beached as he triggered the red flags. That was qualifying done for the Mexican, the third time in the last five races that he has fallen at the Q1 hurdle amid a fresh alarming slump in form despite signing a new multi-year Red Bull deal.

Marko says Perez has the “excuse” of having gambled early on the slicks, though from P19 on the grid, he does not believe that a points finish is on the cards.

“As an excuse, you can say that he was the first to go out on slicks,” Marko told Sky.

“[He] then unfortunately hit the wet with his rear wheels. So everything comes into play.

“It doesn’t help to get out of this low. Thank God you can overtake halfway, but from P19 I don’t see much chance of getting into the points.”

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Perez’s team-mate and World Championship leader Max Verstappen meanwhile will start P4, the Dutchman having damaged the underside of his Red Bull RB20 after going through the gravel at Copse during Q1, ultimately eliminating him from the pole battle.

However, Marko was “overjoyed” with Verstappen’s qualifying position considering the circumstances, as he revealed the huge downforce loss suffered.

“Max went off course in Turn 9 and had damage that was around 100 points in the range of downforce lost,” said Marko.

“Fourth place is sensational for that. We brought an update, which added up to six points. And that made up about half a tenth.”

And so with repairs to be complete in time for Grand Prix Sunday, Marko sees the potential for Verstappen to insert himself into the victory battle.

“The [underbody] will be repaired or a new one will be put on, and if we convert these points into time, then we are already up there with the front,” Marko stated.

Verstappen holds an 81-point lead over McLaren’s Lando Norris as the top of the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the British Grand Prix.

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