Perez says unfamiliarity with car, not strategy, to blame for Q2 exit

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez has put his failure to make it into the final segment of qualifying for his first grand prix with Red Bull down to his inexperience with the car.

The high-rake Red Bull RB16B follows a very different design philosophy to the Mercedes-inspired Racing Point that Perez drove last year, and he only had a shakedown and four days of running in the car before qualifying in Bahrain.

Red Bull put both their drivers on the medium tyre compound in Q2, in order to gain a strategic advantage from starting the race on more durable rubber. Perez believes this was the right way to go, despite failing to make the cut for the top 10.

“I was really confident that I had the pace and just putting the lap together will get me through but I didn’t put it together,” Perez said after qualifying 11th. “So I think that was the right plan for the team, to try to go through on the medium, but I just didn’t put the lap together.”

Perez’s situation was complicated by the fact his first lap time on medium tyres was deleted because of a track limits infringement at turn four.

His team mate Max Verstappen reached Q3 on mediums, as did both Mercedes drivers. Perez said conditions at the track have made it hard to cover useful running in the car.

“It’s been a difficult weekend overall, getting up to speed with the really tough winds, and it’s a one-lap tyre around here,” he explained. “You can not really do more than one lap.

“It’s been a bit tricky to get up to speed. I think we made a good progress throughout qualifying. We had a little issue with the car in third practice that put us off a bit going into qualifying. But I think every kilometre that I’m doing with the car, it’s helping me to understand a lot. I’m happy with the progress I did with the car understanding going into qualifying.

“I just have to be patient with myself, put the work on and initially use some area of time. I’m not concerned at all.”

Perez said he’s “optimistic” the race will go better for him. “I think the long run is up there, that should be good pace tomorrow.”

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2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Elliot Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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16 comments on “Perez says unfamiliarity with car, not strategy, to blame for Q2 exit”

  1. Glad to see his positive attitude. P6 should be feasible tomorrow.

    1. We’re talking about perez, after what he showed in force india I think he should aim for p4 at the minimum, behind red bull and mercedes.

  2. He’s always been better in race trim than over a single lap anyway, so I’m confident he’s going to gain some places tomorrow.

  3. I’m not gonna pass any judgement on Perez after this. I know some people have been waiting for this to say “see we told you”, but I’m pretty sure his lap deleted for T4 track limits would have been enough to get to Q3, so just a messy day at the office.

    1. There is a reason why we got track limits and why the lap got deleted.

    2. I believe there are the same amount of people on the other end of the spectrum. If he happens to be soundly beaten at the end of the season there will be plenty who will say RBR gave him an inferior car/strategy/parts/whatever

      I’d say(hope) both types of people cancel each other out

  4. Give him 3-5 races and then he is more familiar to that second red bull.

  5. All good SP. Onward and upward.

  6. Yes, a hard day for Pérez, it is not the classification he wanted to have, but neither is RBR, tomorrow will have a difficult day, many cars ahead, everyone today showed good speed, the midfield is very tight, Checo will have To jump all that, melee and with a good strategy, Pérez has to have a lot of patience in the first lap, he has to come out clean, and after that, build his career to get as close as possible to the first places.

    Now Checo, you have to get all your experience, RBR cannot allow you to be very far from the Mercedes points, for that they hired you.

    Success tomorrow, thumbs up.

  7. I think he’ll take a few races to get to grips with his machine. He’s been driving one particular car for 7 seasons in a row. So I’m sure he’ll take at least 5 to 6 races before he’ll show what he’s capable of.

    I still don’t think that he’ll qualify within 2 tenths on Max.. As max is honestly at a different level. But I do think he’ll slot in to that P3 to P4 slot consistently by mid season.

  8. Got to maximize the results in first half of the season and mix with the Mercedes cars. Otherwise, constructor’s would be difficult.

  9. Perez was only 0.3’s off Verstappen’s Q2 lap, which is exactly where he should be.

    I think Red Bull was just simply caught off guard with the time improvement others made. Verstappen was only in by .2’s as well. Had they expected that both drivers would have been sent out on the reds I think.

    1. @jeffreyj Yes it was a team error to go for the mediums on the 2nd run. The 1st run was Perez’ error.

  10. Perez and redbull dropped the ball. Fpr what ever reasons. But im sure perez will do better in the race. And once he comes to grips with the car and the team he will be up there or there about.

  11. Perez has never been good at qualifying. He can do a steady race from P11 and hope others in front of him falter or lose out on strategy. That’s been his usual MO for years.

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