Sergio Perez made a solid start to life at Red Bull by finishing fifth in his first race of the season. However, there were still some red flags for the Mexican as he struggled to put together a good lap in qualifying on the Medium compound tires and was eliminated in Q2.
Sergio Perez looked back at his first weekend with the team and broke it down into positives and negatives:
"The negative is that I lose the time in two corners. But at Bahrain, the way the wind is changing, and given that you get just a single lap, it hasn’t been easy to make that progression. The wind is changing all the time, but we can see that progress has been made."
Speaking about the problems he's facing, the Mexican said:
“There are some specific problems related to the way that I’m driving the car, I have to adjust my driving to the car. Firstly, I need to make sure that I’m driving the way the car needs to be driven, and then work on that. But it’s taking me a while because it’s very different to what I’m used to.”
Race pace with the Red Bull is a positive: Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez was happy with his recovery to P5 after starting the race from the pit-lane. Speaking about his progress through the field and race pace, the Mexican said:
"The race pace was strong. But there are so many things that are still clicking. I think at the moment that everything comes together, we are going to be pretty strong. My race never settled down. I lack laps, and you are against the time all the time in that regard. But I enjoyed the understanding with the car, we are starting to feel one another a bit more, so in that regard I’m pleased."
One of the biggest issues faced by Sergio Perez's predecessors at Red Bull was qualifying form. The Mexican is not renowned for his single-lap pace, but at Red Bull, it is unacceptable to get knocked out in Q2. Speaking about his qualifying session, Sergio Perez said:
“It’s a real shame. I didn’t maximize qualifying, but things are starting to click a bit more, lap by lap. The most important thing was those kilometers that I managed to get under my belt.”
The Bahrain Grand Prix could have had a different outcome had Sergio Perez been in the mix early on. The Mexican started the race from the pit-lane, which allowed Mercedes to split the strategy on their cars, and eventually win the race with Hamilton.
At Imola, a track notorious for a lack of overtaking opportunities, Perez needs to be careful and maximize his opportunities in qualifying. Otherwise, Red Bull could face a similar 2-on-1 situation again, which will not help their chances of winning the race.