Sergio Perez felt he was on for an “easy” podium in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix, only for technical issues to take him out of the running.
Perez had inherited third after teammate Max Verstappen’s own problems forced the reigning World Champion into retirement, with Red Bull’s weekend-long pace coming undone amid reliability woes.
Heading onto the final lap, as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton chased him down, Perez spun out at Turn 1 and radioed in an engine fault, marking a double DNF for Red Bull in the season-opening race.
Perez loses “easy” podium after engine “cuts off”
Red Bull are yet to confirm the precise cause of Perez and Verstappen’s issues, but the Mexican was left to rue a missed podium finish.
“It just felt like a couple of laps before the end that I was losing a bit of power – the engine was cutting off at times,” Perez told Sky Sports F1.
“We knew there was an issue, we knew what happened to Max and, unfortunately, it just happened [to me] on the last lap.
“We were easily on the podium. We held back Lewis, which was tough, as he was very fast at the end, so it’s a bit of a shame that we didn’t get the result.”
Can Red Bull get on top of their issues for Saudi Arabia?
With the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix just seven days away, Perez is hoping that Red Bull can find a quick solution to their issues.
“We are a great team,” Perez stressed, when asked about Red Bull getting on top of their problems over the next week.
“I really believe in the team and I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it.
“It’s a very disappointing day, it’s a disappointing start for our season, but we know how long Formula 1 years can be.”