Why is Sergio Perez happy despite poor Bahrain GP qualifying?

The Mexican qualified fifth for the 2024 Bahrain GP but was still well within half a second of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen

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Sergio Perez feels positive despite qualifying fifth for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix as his teammate took pole, with the 34-year-old admitting he made a mistake on his final lap.

The Mexican said that if he didn’t mess up, he would have been second or third on the grid for Formula 1‘s season-opening race but instead he finds himself behind four cars as his lap was 0.350 seconds slower than Max Verstappen‘s pole time.

It’s a big season for Perez with his Red Bull future on the line in 2024 and despite the disappointment of the qualifying result, he isn’t letting it get him down as he is eager to go racing with the rest of a seemingly much closer grid.

“It’s been a positive day for the team,” Perez said to media after the race. “From my side, I messed up turn one and lost a tenth and a bit and that was enough to take me away from probably second or third.

“So we’ve seen the gaps. It was also a shame that we lost the second set [of soft tyres] in Q2, which we felt we needed but we ended up aborting and then it was already a scrubbed tyre anyway.

“But anyway, plenty of things to look forward to for tomorrow [Saturday].”

Perez doesn’t blame the car

Sergio Perez of Red Bull ahead of 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Perez began 2023 brightly taking two wins and two pole positions in the opening five races of the season but then endured a disastrous run of form as he missed the final stage of qualifying for five consecutive races.

His form recovered to an acceptable enough level, according to the judgement of Red Bull, to keep his drive for 2024. But he was a long way behind Verstappen, who won the championship with over twice as many points.

So with a poor start to the season in 2024, did Perez feel as though his RB20 was responsible this time?

“I feel there is good potential and there is good understanding,” Perez added at the Bahrain International Circuit. “I think we making good progress is the first time we ran it [the car] with such low fuel.

“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 instability feels better. It’s obviously still a Red Bull car, but I think it’s where we’ve taken a good step.”

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