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Perez still searching for Red Bull answers on short stints

The Mexican driver was consistently down on the lap times of his teammate throughout Friday practice. Nevertheless, he remains confident that his long-run pace will stand him in good stead this season.

Sergio Perez has been describing his struggles over one lap in the new RB16B. The Mexican driver stepped into a Red Bull for the first time on a race weekend on Friday, and while he looked more assured on the long runs, Perez accepts there is still work to do over a single lap. Max Verstappen topped both practice sessions with a pair of blistering lap times, but Perez couldn't quite manage to break into the top five on the timesheet. "It feels great to finally get into a race weekend and I’m pleased so far with how things are going," he told Red Bull Racing in a team press release. "If I were to summarize today, I’ve got some work to do on the short runs as over one lap I don’t quite feel the car is within me just yet. I still have to think about what the car is doing, but in the long runs I’m more comfortable and I think the pace is there so that’s positive." The 31-year-old has never been renowned for his electrifying qualifying pace, as it is during the Sunday races where his experience and astute tyre management often propels him to remarkable results. If he can add raw speed to his repertoire, Red Bull could be perfectly positioned to take on the might of Mercedes in 2021. "I think we have some work to do on the soft tyre as there is also room for improvement there, but the car is performing well, we have good pace and tomorrow it will be pretty close in qualifying," Perez concluded.

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