Sergio Perez admitted that he had thought his Bahrain GP was over after that the mechanical failure forced him to stop during the formation lap.
The Mexican driver qualified 11th on Saturday. However, this was not his starting position on Sunday since an engine problem forced him to pull over. Luckily for him, the car re-started, but he was forced to start from the pit-lane.
Despite that, Perez drove an amazing race and stormed through the field, managing to finish the race in P5, scoring good points for Red Bull on his debut. After the end of the Grand Prix, the Mexican admitted that he did not expect to start the season-opener at all.
“I don’t know what happened, really,” he said. “I was in the middle of the corner, and everything went off. I lost the engine, I lost ignition, I thought that that was it, and all of a sudden I started to hear Jonathan [Wheatley, Sporting Director] on the radio, and I was like ‘whoa’.
“This thing woke up, and I turned on the engine, and I had to start from the pitlane. A lot of work ahead of us to be back in contention in the place that we want to be. The positive is that the pace was good today, so we’re getting there,” he said.
Perez also added that finishing the race was the most positive thing of the weekend after a poor performance in qualifying.
“Considering how my race started, I think we can be pleased,” he said. “The most important of today that I was able to do the race, you know? And yesterday I missed out in Q3. I missed a lot of mileage, so that wasn’t ideal.
“Today I did the race, and I think I had a lot of understanding and a lot of data to go through with the engineers and a lot of work ahead of us but we can see that things are… clicking better. Everything was feeling better in the race, so I’m pleased with that.”
Finally, the new Red Bull driver said that he needs to adapt to the car and get up to the speed of the RB16B, especially if the team can challenge Mercedes for the victory of the championship.
“I just wanted to make it as quick as possible because the team needs me there, and I need to be there,” he said. “It’s not like I’m here, relaxing [and thinking that] it will come.
“I’m working hard, the engineers are working hard together with me and it will eventually click. And the time that that happens, then we’re going to be very strong,” he concluded.