Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Perez seeking “natural” handling feel for flying laps in Red Bull

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Red Bull’s 2021 signing Sergio Perez trails his pace-setting team mate Max Verstappen after Friday practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

What they say

Perez was 10th-fastest after the first two practice sessions of the 2021 F1 season, while team mate Verstappen topped both. He explained what’s holding him back so far.

We are certainly making big steps all the time, and I think in summary we’ve got some work to do over a lap. I don’t quite feel the car within me. I’m still having to think a lot what’s going on out there. It doesn’t seem to be coming natural over a lap.

The long run, I seem to be more comfortable. I think the pace is there over the long run. So that’s the positive bit. But yeah, we’ve got some work to do on the performance side and also with that soft tyre, we’re going to be improving a bit more.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

Zhou takes pole, Pourchaire starts first F2 race from the front

Zhou kept pole following an investigation
Guanyu Zhou claimed the first pole of the Formula 2 season at Bahrain, edging fellow Alpine Academy member Christian Lundgaard to first place in qualifying by just 0.003 seconds. Virtuosi driver Zhou then failed to return to the support race pit lane, instead going past the chequered flag twice and putting his pole position under threat. Eventually stewards opted to hand him a reprimand.

Hitech GP’s Juri Vips was not so lucky, as the Red Bull junior – who had qualified fifth – was found to be running illegal undertray fins and as a result was disqualified from the session. That puts him at the back of the grid for the first and third races of this weekend’s triple-header.

As a result of Vips’s removal from the times sheet, all drivers below him move up one spot and it means ART’s Theo Pourchaire will start 10th for Sunday’s feature race. It also means he will be on pole for Saturday’s first sprint race, which uses the results from qualifying to set the grid but reverses the top 10.

Porsche commits to Formula E’s third generation era

Porsche, Formula E, 2021
Porsche has extended its commitment to Formula E
Porsche has become the latest manufacturer to sign up to Formula E’s ‘Gen3’ regulations, which will be used from the 2022-23 season onwards.

The next FE cars will have 350kW available in qualifying mode (up from 250kW now), and will race at 300kW. Regenerative braking on all four wheels is earmarked as being able to recuperate 600kW of energy.

In their first season in the series, Porsche made the podium in their first race and it took just four attempts to claim a pole position. After two races of the current season, it is ninth in the teams standings with Andre Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein.

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Comment of the day

Competition: Win a Fanatec Podium V2 direct drive steering wheel and more
Between practice sessions, F1 decided to change how it would police track limits at turn four for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. It’s odd decision to enforce the track limit at the corner differently for qualifying and the race reminded Jere of 2020.

Masi seems to have forgotten why he specifically stopped enforcing track limits at the turn four exit last year later on the first weekend. He should make up his mind whether to police this specific part of the track or not.

Treating one session differently from the rest is even weirder. Last year, he was unnecessarily excessive in general compared to 2019, but hopefully more like 2019 this year, although I don’t have much hope.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Justin!

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Author information

Ida 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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26 comments on “Perez seeking “natural” handling feel for flying laps in Red Bull”

  1. It’s too early to tell but from what Perez says I’m getting Gasly-Albon-vibes and I don’t like it.

    Let’s pray he finds that “natural feel” soon!

    1. His race simulation was just a tad slower than Verstappen. I already see him as an improvement, but it’s only friday.
      Too early to say anything.

      1. 4 tenths is quite a bit off…

        1. About as much as Verstappen was off if Ricciardo in his first races at Red Bull.

          1. No! Get your facts straight..he won the first race…crashed in Monaco but faster pace…beat Ric in Canada…did not beat but was faster in Europe….beat and was faster in Austria…and on and on….

      2. Lorrydriver1
        27th March 2021, 11:26

        Perez to get replaced by Albon after race three.. you heard it here first.. the engineers can see he doesn’t have it in him. His fan base will start making excuses soon.. fast drivers don’t need time.. Hamilton max senna shumi.. never made excuses.. this is a red bull not a sauber or toro Rosso or Alfa.. you get in it and you get fast from day one.. that’s what’s expected

    2. I think he’ll get there. Compared to last year I think the car is handling better, he is a more experienced driver, and even he said he’d need 5 races. I think the tires are taking some education too. He’ll be fine. We want F1 to be hard enough that a bloke shouldn’t just be able to walk into a team as a newbie to them and the car and be immediately on it, no? Especially compared to the engrained driver. SP deserves our patience.

      1. +1


      2. F1 fans don’t do patience. They’re already complaining about RBRs dominance ;) .

        In another note… Keith might like to look at a confirmation button for the report comment button, fat fingers and iPhones tend to need confirmation, might just help reduce unnecessary admin. 👍

    3. I’m sure he will be closer to Verstappen than Gasly and Albon were, but I don’t see Perez challenging Verstappen to the level that Ricciardo did. I’m expecting him to finish a distant fourth in the championship this year; not challenging Mercedes or Verstappen, but consistently ahead of the midfield (something that Gasly and Albon were unable to achieve). At the start of the year he may struggle to beat McLaren and Ferrari in qualifying (particularly Leclerc, who I think might be in the battle for pole tomorrow, even if he struggles in the race), but I still think he will finish fourth in the races. Hopefully he might sneak a win through strategy at some point.

      1. @f1frog I think that’s a fair assessment.

    4. We all knew Perez would be better in races than qualifying, and need to time to get up to speed, so the only take-away here is that he’s already on top of the race setup which is good.

      1. RocketTankski
        27th March 2021, 9:35

        So there could be a chance for Yuki Tsunoda to step up to Red Bull before the end of the season. Only to get demoted again and replaced by someone else.

        1. After just one friday, really??

  2. I guess we’ll find out on Sunday which is when Sergio tends to excel. I expect Max will have the better of him most Saturdays but Sergio should be closer in the race. Certainly moreso than Albon (I hope for Red Bull’s sake…).

  3. I suppose the driver needs to adapt both a specific type of mindset and driving technique, in order to maximize the potential of Adrian Newey’s cars (at least from 1998 onwards).

    I remember in 2001 I read an interview article with Nick Heidfeld (at the time a McLaren-Mercedes protege), where he mentioned that the McLaren cars he tested (designed by Adrian Newey from 1998 – 2005) were easy to maximize up to 95% of their capability but the final 5% was quite difficult to achieve. And during the times he managed to extract 100% out of the package, his gains in lap time were significant. Whereas compared to the 2001 Sauber he drove, the upside from 95% to 100% was minimal.

    Also in the Beyond The Grid episode featuring Juan Pablo Montoya, the Colombian recalled how he found the 2005 McLaren weird to drive: he mentioned it was very quick, but being able to maximize the package (and doing so consistently) proved tricky because the vehicle feedback felt different, and the car’s rear end tended to be nervous (too much so, even for an oversteer driver like JPM). Similarly David Coulthard also struggled to consistently maximize most of the McLaren cars he drove from 1998 – 2004; compared to his team-mates during those years (Hakkinen and Raikkonen) who managed to win/fight for championships (DC allegedly couldn’t cope with the nervousness of the McLarens on corner entry, whereas Mika and Kimi used it to maximize their cornering speed).

    Lastly in several recent podcasts featuring Gary Anderson, the former F1 Technical Director discussed how Sebastian Vettel managed to develop a large part of his driving style based on the characteristics of the Red Bull cars from 2009 – 2013. A good example Gary gave was how Vettel managed turn 1 of the Yas Marina Circuit compared to his team-mate Mark Webber (I think the comparison was based on 2011): Vettel would brake really late and then turn-in, and as the rear end was just about getting overloaded and started to break away, he would stamp on the throttle and the blown diffuser would remedy the slide. The way Vettel drove those Red Bulls during 2009 – 2013 enabled him to maximize both his speed on apex and exit. Whereas Webber grew up under a more textbook driving style, so couldn’t wrap his head around what Vettel was doing and be able to drive the same (although during the times the FIA temporarily curbed the benefits of exhaust blowing, Mark Webber was usually on level with/better than his team-mate; since his conventional style was more versatile and adaptable to different handling characteristics).

    1. Good read! 4.5/5.

    2. Thanks for the info. Good read indeed!

    3. ColdFly (@)
      27th March 2021, 7:50

      Thank you for the educational comment. @rafael-o
      I’m jealous how it seems you easily refer to dates way back and/or are so organised that you can look it up so quickly.

  4. In both F1 and F2, the little driver tracker graphic is awful in 2021 thanks to livery changes. More than half of each grid is a shade of blue. I’m not colour blind, but even I struggle with it. Even Aston Martin “green” blurs in with a muddy blue.

    1. This year’s grid is just too much blue now. If only Renault didn’t change their name too often, if only AlphaTauri and Red Bull made clear changes to their livery, and if only Williams put some more yellow…

    2. @eurobrun
      They should stop using turquoise for Mercedes from now on, since it’s too similar with that Aston green, and they should assign Mercedes the colour black, since no one else uses it and frankly, black is a ‘tiny bit’ more prominent than turquoise on their car.

      They should assign Williams the colour yellow, even if they use it on a very small scale… however Mercedes didn’t have to paint half their car turquoise all those years to assign them that colour anyway.

      Toro Rosso 2017 – Let’s change the blue in the livery and make it brighter so as to differentiate ourselves from the big Red Bull team.
      AlphaTauri 2021 – Yeah don’t bother, just cover 2/3 of the car with the same dark Red Bull blue. Who cares if half the grid is blue…

  5. Thanks for the COTD.

    An ambitious target from Silverstone.

    I think Perez will be fine.

    Re F1’s tweet: The other car was quite far ahead, at least 5 seconds.

    1. lorrydriver1
      27th March 2021, 15:47

      LOL Perez will lose his drive after 3 watch

      1. You drove to the wrong place, buddy.

Comments are closed.