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Why Perez feels Leclerc cost him Bahrain GP victory shot

Sergio Perez felt he could have given Max Verstappen a closer fight in Bahrain - only losing out because of Charles Leclerc.

Sergio Perez feels he could have been a contender for Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix victory if it were not for the fast-starting Charles Leclerc. A slow start from the Red Bull driver from P2 on the grid coupled with a quick one from Leclerc in third allowed the Ferrari to leapfrog the Mexican to lead the chase of pole-sitter Max Verstappen. While the World Champion cleared off and was not troubled after Turn 1, Leclerc and Perez were engaged in a strategic battle for P2 - with the Red Bull emerging victorious before Leclerc later retired. And Perez believes that if he had not been stuck behind Leclerc, he would have been a lot closer to runaway winner Verstappen.

"Yeah, that was really the case, missing out to Charles on that first stint," Perez told media, including RacingNews365 , about whether the start was the crucial factor in his race. "It was really difficult to get by him, he had the new tyres so you could see the difference on that first stint. "And as soon as I was getting a bit closer to him, trying to attack him earlier on, I got deg and destroyed my tyres, so I had to be really patient and get my way through it. "Once I did, I was able to drive some fast laps and my tyres and on the second stint were in better shape than his and I was able to get through. "But it was just too late [to challenge Max]. "It was just a few laps too many, too late, and that put us quite behind Max. "Once that happened, we basically just maintained the gap throughout the race so we had no chance to fight for the win. "But [the race] was all about minimising the bad start, and we've got plenty of things to analyse, to try to improve and get this consistency throughout the season."

A little spy work

Being stuck behind the SF-23 allowed Perez some valuable time to evaluate the new machine, information he was keen to relay to the engineers. "I actually learned a lot about their car, you know: where they are weak, where they're strong, or stronger than us. "So yeah, I think I need to make sure that it stays fresh for my engineers."

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