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Perez admits he is not yet “super comfortable” with Red Bull’s RB20 F1 car

The Mexican finished runner-up behind race winner Max Verstappen in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, but the 22.4 second gap to the front shows how much more progress he needs to make.

But while the team is confident that Perez is more at one with this year’s F1 challenger than last season’s RB19, he acknowledges that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“I think at the moment, let’s say, the car it’s not super comfortable for me, but I understand a lot more of the car,” he said, when asked how his feelings compared to the RB19.

“I think as a team we understand a lot more on how to maximise the performance out of the car. So, I think that’s something quite good for us.”

Perez believes the gap in Bahrain was exaggerated by a small deficit in qualifying shuffling him into the pack, where it was then hard to make a recovery in the race.

“I think it was overall a good race, but in qualifying it wasn’t a perfect lap,” he said. “I didn’t put it together.

“I should have been on the front row, or third – and we are talking about a tenth or so. So, I think just tidying things up also in the race, as we didn’t have the right configuration with our set-up. We were not great at looking after the tyre.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

Perez won last year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and knows that he cannot afford to let Verstappen grab all the early success if he is to put together his own title challenge.

But he thinks it is wrong to target specific races for success this year, as he reckons what is more critical is building foundations that allow him to be consistently stronger throughout the campaign.

“There are 23 races left, and you cannot fight for a championship by winning just one race,” he said.

“I think it’s important that we understood things that we could have done better in Bahrain and learn from that.

“We really need to keep that trajectory going upwards and become more competitive race-by-race, because everyone will be taking a step forwards from Bahrain. So we have to take two steps.”

And while Verstappen’s complete domination of Bahrain has left rivals fearful that Red Bull could be on its way to winning every race this season, Perez is not convinced that the team is in as strong a shape as it was 12 months ago.

“I don’t think so, I think everything is really, really close,” he said. “I think Ferrari should have been on pole in Bahrain.

“And I think when you look at the race pace, I think Bahrain is a track where, when you start fighting, then your race looks very different.

“We can see that Ferrari is super close to us. Mercedes, and McLaren [too]. I think it’s going to be very dependent on track to track. So it’s really close.”

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This article was originally published by a www.motorsport.com . Read the Original article here. .

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