Sergio Perez says he is not relaxing in the expectation that his performance at Red Bull will come in time, saying the team needs him to be competitive as quickly as possible.
Red Bull opted to drop Alex Albon at the end of last season and sign the more experienced Perez, who had just taken his first win for Racing Point in the Sakhir Grand Prix. While the Mexican finished fourth in the drivers’ championship last year, the switch to a new car and team means Verstappen was comfortably quicker at the opening round in Bahrain, and Perez says he isn’t cutting himself any slack when it comes to trying to get close to his teammate.
“I don’t have a fixed target, I just want to get this process done as quickly as possible,” Perez said. “The team needs me up there and I need to be up there, so it’s not like I’m here relaxing that it will all come. I’m working hard, the engineers are working hard together with me and it will eventually click. And by the time that happens, we’re going to be very strong.”
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Perez admits the opening round in Bahrain taught him about both his new team and how Verstappen gets impressive pace out of the Red Bull car, something that has been difficult for the second driver in recent years.
“I learned a lot. I learned more about Max’s driving style and how the car has to be driven to extract the maximum from it. I think that was the biggest learning, I know what balance I need from the car throughout the weekend.
“I think it’s going to be very tight with Mercedes and we’re going to see if the fight is circuit related. 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.”