Perez says RB16B has pace to come through field after Q2 exit on Red Bull qualifying debut
You could see the disappointment on Sergio Perez’s face after he was knocked out in Q2 during Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying on his Red Bull debut – but the Mexican is confident the RB16B’s race pace can help him “come through field and score good points”...
Perez admitted on Friday that he doesn’t “quite feel the car within me” and that “it doesn’t seem to be coming naturally over a lap” just yet. And while the one-time race winner felt he made progress through final practice and qualifying, he says he still isn’t yet in the groove.
So when Red Bull put him on the medium tyres for his Q2 run, he wasn’t able to get the pace out of the compound that his pole-sitting team mate Max Verstappen was able to, and said he got caught in traffic.
As a result, will start Sunday’s race from 11th, the best-placed of the drivers with free tyre choice.
“It was a good advantage to be on that tyre [medium],” said Perez. “We didn’t make that today, so that’s a bit of a disappointment.
“I look forward to tomorrow, I’ll try to deliver more. Every run I do in this car, I learn. Today from FP3 to qualifying, we had a little issue mechanically which helped me a lot to understand the car, and I think my qualifying was going better.
“We had a lot of issues with traffic and out of position and so on, that we just have to figure out. It’s been a difficult weekend. Bahrain you only get a single lap and then after, the wind is different, the tyres are totally gone.
“So it has not been an easy weekend, but come qualifying, managed to figure out where I am with the car a bit more.”
Verstappen demonstrated that the Red Bull, when hooked up, is a car capable of beating Mercedes, with a supreme performance to snatch his first-ever back-to-back pole position, after taking top spot at last season's Abu Dhabi race. That’s why Perez is feeling hopeful he can recover a difficult Saturday.
“We have good race pace so tomorrow we should be able to come through the field and score good points. Tomorrow that is the main thing.”