Perez: Imola will offer more clues on Red Bull-Mercedes duel

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Red Bull's Sergio Perez says next weekend's Emilia Romagna GP at Imola should reveal whether his team's strength in Bahrain relative to Mercedes was circuit-related or not.

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton had the last word at Sakhir against Max Verstappen, but Red Bull's performance over the opening weekend and the Dutchman's comfortable pole implied that the Milton Keynes outfit's RB16B is a step ahead of its Brackley rival.

Perez finished fifth in Bahrain in his first race with his new team, a result that belies the Mexican's spirited drive which started from the pitlane as a consequence of his car shutting down on the way to the grid following an electrical blackout.

Perez will therefore be looking for a clean race in Italy and a chance to race among the leaders.

"I think it’s going to be very tight with Mercedes and we’re going to see if the fight is circuit related," he said.

"It will be interesting to see how we are in Imola, on a very different track to Bahrain, and see how we compare against them."

"My goal is to have a good race and I’m looking forward to the weekend.

"Hopefully in Imola we can come back and be in contention to fight for a podium and hopefully take the win. Unlike Bahrain, qualifying is very important at Imola as you can hardly overtake there, but I like it."

Perez says that in his short time with Red Bull he has already learned a lot, including from his blindingly fast teammate.

"I learned more about Max’s driving style and how the car has to be driven to extract the maximum from it," he said.

"I think that was the biggest learning, I know what balance I need from the car throughout the weekend."

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