Horner praises Perez’s ‘cool, calm head’ after formation lap scare on Red Bull debut
Sergio Perez’s pit lane-to-P5 comeback was one of the great stories of an action-packed Bahrain Grand Prix, and his boss Christian Horner was full of praise for the Mexican for keeping calm as everything threatened to unravel before the race had even started.
Perez’s Red Bull debut didn’t get off to the smoothest start as the he was knocked out of qualifying in Q2 – while his team mate Max Verstappen took pole position – before he took new engine parts for the race (with no penalty). But on the formation lap, things got even worse as his car stopped partway through with a loss of power.
READ MORE: 'I thought that was it' – Perez shocked to recover to P5 after car failure on formation lap
Perez thought his race was over but the team’s Sporting Director Jonathan Wheatley appeared on the radio to get him going again – and the Mexican managed to recover to fifth from a pit lane start. Team Principal Horner was impressed by the performance and show of resilience under pressure from Perez.
“Hats off to Sergio as well in what was a great comeback drive for him, especially after starting in the pit lane,” said Horner. “He kept a cool, calm head after the issue on the formation lap and was able to deliver a strong points haul.”
Perez himself gathered 10 useful points as Red Bull came away with 28 – to Mercedes' 41 – from Bahrain. The ex-Racing Point driver was also voted Driver of the Day by the fans.
“Considering my race almost didn't happen today, I think overall we can be pleased with the race and take away the positives as the pace was really good and the potential is there,” said the Mexican driver.
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“We've got a lot of data to analyse now so that we understand everything and make sure we come back stronger at the next race in Imola.”
Last year, Perez finished sixth at Imola for Racing Point but Verstappen spun off on Lap 50 with a puncture – but this year, with the RB16B looking a formidable challenger to Mercedes’ W12, Red Bull will be hoping to fare much better at the Italian track.