RACE DEBRIEF

    Sergio Perez left Barcelona feeling optimistic after Red Bull’s pre-season showing in Spain – saying that the team built a solid foundation on which to continue when the Official Pre-Season Test begins in Bahrain.

    Perez completed 152 laps – 11th in the mileage stakes – over the three days, and posted the third-fastest time on Day 3 behind the two Mercedes. He also tested Pirelli’s 18-inch intermediate compounds early on Friday afternoon.

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    Reflecting on the three-day session, he said: “Yes, I think we got a good baseline. I definitely think we have a good potential. It’s obviously very early days. I really hope that we are able to make a good step come Bahrain, and yes, [I hope we will] just keep progressing from all the information that we gathered from here.”

    With Red Bull defending the drivers’ title and aiming to secure their first constructors’ championship since 2013, Perez was asked what the team needed to do in order to push towards their ultimate goal.

    “I think it’s a progression throughout the year; it’s important just to keep making steps, keep making progress, and keep learning from my driving, the way I’m adapting the car and the team – what’s the best way to maximise it?” he replied.

    “Because, I think it’s going to be quite a different challenge from qualifying… to race day. You have seen these cars [porpoising] so I think it’s going to be a challenge to maximise the whole weekend.”

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    Pre-season running gave us the first proper look at every 2022 car, including Red Bull's RB18

    Team mate Max Verstappen ran in the morning of the final day for a P4 finish on Friday, completing 206 laps over the three-day programme. The reigning champion was clearly enthused by his brand-new RB18 challenger.

    "I really enjoy driving the car," said Verstappen. "It has a nice stable balance and I think they look cool as well, so that’s always nice to jump into.

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    "Of course, quite a few red flags so… we could not complete our whole programme, but everything was working well, the car felt good, [and I] just continued from what I did on Day 1. I think [that was] the most important objective here for us," he added.

    The teams head to Sakhir soon, preparing not just for the Official Pre-Season Test, but the opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20.

    'Good baseline' established for Pérez after Spain sessions