Red Bull team principal Christian Horner praised Sergio Perez’s performance in his first race for the team in Bahrain, saying he showed a “very calm head” when his car broke down on the formation lap.
“I think his drive today was very mature,” said Horner. “He showed his experience.
“He had an issue obviously on the on the warm-up lap, but he kept a very calm head. We lost all communication with the car, and he took control of the situation. He rebooted the car, effectively, got it going.
“I think his recovery drive was very strong. So it’s very useful for him to get the time in the seat and get more used to the car. And I think his overtaking, his pace was very strong. So that’s encouraging for him.”
F1’s tightest-ever pre-season testing restrictions this year meant Perez only drove the car on six days prior to Sunday’s race. Almost all of that took place in Bahrain, where high winds and severe tyre degradation make it harder for teams to conduct development running.
Perez said that had made it difficult for him to work on the areas where he was losing lap time to team mate Max Verstappen.
“The positive or the negative is that I [only] lose the time in two corners,” he said. “But here the way that the wind is changing and given that you just get a single lap, it hasn’t been easy to make that progression. The wind is changing all the time and so on, but we can see that progression is being made.”
In qualifying, Perez narrowly failed to make the cut for Q3, and was due to line up 11th on the grid, 10 places behind Verstappen, when his car failed.
“There are some specific problems related to the way I’m driving the car,” he explained. “I have to adjust my driving to the car.
“First I need to make sure that I’m driving the way the car needs to be driven, and then work from there. But it’s taking me a while because it’s very different to what I’m used to.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2021 Bahrain Grand Prix
- How F1’s new rookie class fared in their first challenge of 2021
- Vettel feeling “not at home in the car yet” after tough weekend
- New format but familiar problems in Formula 2’s first triple-header weekend
- Leclerc thought he might keep Bottas behind after first-lap pass
- Mercedes strategy didn’t catch us by surprise – Red Bull