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Sergio Perez

Perez downplays Red Bull pace concerns

Sergio Perez has moved to downplay Red Bull's difficult Imola weekend as "circuit-specific" but insists he and the team must "keep our heads" down to fend off McLaren and Ferrari.

Perez Imola grid
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Sergio Perez has asserted that Red Bull must "keep working" to hold off its rivals, as McLaren and Ferrari close in.

The Milton Keynes team struggled at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but the 34-year-old believes those issues were "circuit specific". 

Despite this, the Mexican thinks the constructors' champions must keep "heads down" to prevent being overtaken by the chasing pack.

Red Bull had to make comprehensive set-up changes to its cars for qualifying in Imola, after Perez and team-mate Max Verstappen suffered heavily in Friday's two practice sessions. However, whilst the Dutchman was able to recover and put his RB20 on pole, Perez failed to make it through to Q3 - being consigned to a P11 start.

Although he was able to recover to eighth-place come the end of the race, there remains cause for concern. Lando Norris almost reeled in Verstappen in the closing stages, narrowly missing out on a second successive grand prix win.

"I think it's a bit of circuit-specific," Perez told media including RacingNews365 when asked if there was a worry the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was a sign of things to come. 

"I think we've got to keep our heads down, keep working. Still, I'm happy that Max [Verstappen] got the victory for the team.

"We've seen that McLaren [and] Ferrari have done a step forward, so we just have to keep our heads down. The season is long. [We have to] keep maximising opportunities."

Imola is notoriously difficult to pass at, so despite only recovering three positions from his relatively lowly starting position, Perez felt he had got the most out of his afternoon.

In the opening stages, he struggled to make progress on Hard tyres, with those ahead on the yellow-walled Mediums. However, when those cars pitted, Perez ran long, allowing for a later stint on quicker rubber, when he began moving past the RBs and Haas' in front.

"I think we sort of knew that that was the best we could get," he contented. "We obviously knew that the car was going to be very difficult initially, but we were hoping for a safety car at the right point that potentially could put us back in the fight. 

"It was very difficult first stint. I think it was compromised a lot with the traffic initially, traffic at the end - people coming through."

The Red Bull driver did acknowledge an off-track excursion he had in the early part of the race, although he did not feel it impacted his finishing position with the Mercedes ahead enjoying a comfortable gap to the Mexican.

"And I also had a lockup going into [Turn] 16. So I went straight and lost quite a bit of time. I also picked up some damage. Just a very, very tough race.”

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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