Sergio Perez expressed unhappiness with his Portuguese Grand Prix result but assured that he is continuing to understand Red Bull’s RB16B.
Perez has had a mixed start to his Red Bull career since joining the team for 2021 following seven years with Force India/Racing Point.
He was eliminated in Q2 in Bahrain but recovered from a formation lap power failure to finish fifth while at Imola his maiden front-row start was squandered due to a spin in the race.
Perez qualified fourth at Portimao but lost ground to the leaders through the first stint of the race after dropping behind fast-starting McLaren driver Lando Norris.
Perez, using a Medium/Soft strategy, eventually wound up fourth, labelling the result “not where I should finish”, but outlined the positives from the race.
“It was positive to get those kilometres on my own, feeling the car, because the way I have to drive this car in a long run and looking after the tyres is very different to what I’m used to,” he said.
“In that regard, it is a positive day. Hopefully we can be back to top form and really be in the mix with the leaders, it’s where we should be. Hopefully we can back to that level but it is important every weekend to make progress.”
Perez previously suggested it would take five races in order to get a handle on his new surroundings and speaking after the race outlined that he is still in that process.
“I’m in a state of adaptation I’d say,” he commented. “I don’t know the car in race conditions so I’m not able to give too much information just yet on things we should be trying.
“I’m in that process of adaptation, understanding with the team, understanding the car, before I can really take the team into different directions.
“The team is pretty solid, they’ve done an incredible job in these first races, so it’s me that I need to get on top of the car first and that’s coming.”
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner was effusive over Perez’s progress throughout the course of the weekend.
“He’s getting there,” he said. “[Portimao’s] been really difficult because of the wind, but you can see the race is coming together for him when he’s in clean air.
“He managed to get past Norris – who passed him fully off the track, again another track limits inconsistency – and yeah, once he was in clean air he was doing the same lap times as the leaders and at some points was setting the fastest laps.
“It’s really coming together with him. I’m happy with the progress he is making, and with more time and experience everything just comes together for him.”
Perez holds sixth place in the Drivers’ Championship on 22 points.