Sergio Perez got his 2021 F1 season off to a steady start in Friday's practice sessions. While Red Bull Racingl's newest recruit was unable to match teammate Max Verstappen, who led the timesheets in both sessions, Perez showed impressive pace in the long runs. However, it was the single-lap dash where the Mexican didn't appear to be extracting the most out of the car yet.
He finished both FP1 and FP2 some way behind Verstappen in sixth and 10th, and admitted that he still had work to do on his single-lap pace.
"In summary, we've got some work to do on the short runs, as over one lap, I don't quite feel the car is within me yet," Perez told the media. "I still have to think about what's going on. It doesn't seem to be coming naturally over one lap. But in the long runs, I seem to be more comfortable and I think the pace is there, so that's positive. I think we have some work to do on the performance side and also on the soft tire, we can improve a bit more. The car is performing well. We have good pace and tomorrow, it will be pretty close in qualifying. So we need to make sure we get it right and have a good start to the season."
Sergio Perez on the podium in Bahrain?
Qualifying has never been Sergio Perez's strong suit. However, his racecraft and pace on long runs, especially once the tires are past their best, have always been a cut above the rest.
Being a race where tire conservation over the long haul is particularly important, the Bahrain Grand Prix should be right up Sergio Perez's alley. Should the Mexican qualify in the top 5, he could certainly be a good bet to finish on the podium.