Perez frustrated by costly error in Bahrain qualifying


Sergio Perez secured a decent fifth place start for himself on Saturday’s Bahrain Grand Prix grid, but the Mexican rued a crucial error on his final flyer that likely cost him a better result.

In a tight field, Perez concluded Friday’s shootout 0.358 seconds off the quickset time of the session set by his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen who confirmed the RB20’s early promise.

But he’ll need to contend with Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Carlos Sainz at the start of this evening’s race, with the trio positioned just ahead of him on the grid.

Perez’s P5 carries extra weight for the Mexican who enters the season needing strong performances to secure his Red Bull seat beyond 2025.

While frustrated by a mistake in Q3 that cost him a potential front-row start, Perez remains optimistic.

“It's been a positive day for the for the team,” he said.

“From my side, I messed up Turn 1, and lost a tenth and a bit. And that was enough to take me from probably P2 or P3. We've seen the gaps.

“It was also a shame that we lost the second set into Q2 without a need. We ended up aborting. It was already a scrubbed tyre, but anyway, plenty of things to look forward for tomorrow."

Last year, Perez upheld a strong challenge against Verstappen in the opening races of the season before losing his way and struggling to regain his footing.

The 34-year-old is feeling comfortable at the wheel of Red Bull’s new RB20 and suggests he’ll begin his 2024 campaign on a strong note.

"I feel there is good potential, and there is good understanding,” he said. “I think we're making good progress. It's the first time we've run it at such a light fuel, and even through qualifying we were making some good progress.

“It's a shame that in the end we didn't get to show it. But I think we are in a much better position, and also our race pace is better. So let's see where we end up tomorrow.


"I think the entry stability is better,” he said, when asked how Red Bull’s new contender differs from its predecessor. “It's obviously still a Red Bull car. But I think it's where we're taking good steps.

"I think we've started the season strongly. The result might not show it, but it's just a matter of putting everything together. We are in a good position for tomorrow, having that flexibility with the softs. We have good tyres for tomorrow."

However, Perez pointed to the close competition among the front-runners, suggesting that big points won’t come easily.

"I think following has become a little bit harder,” he said. “So it will be interesting to be with cars around, and see what it's like.

"It's a really, really close out there. I think tomorrow we will still learn a lot, all of us, so it's important to complete the race distance, and then go from there."

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