Sergio Perez says Carlos Sainz did put them a bit under pressure in F1 Bahrain GP, while managing an issue but they eventually managed to hold on well.

There were not many battles to be seen in F1 Bahrain GP apart from Ferrari’s Sainz making up places from fifth to third. He initially lost the place to Red Bull’s Perez, which he didn’t regain but both made up places to finish on the podium.

Both Perez and Sainz cleared Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the process, with the Spaniard having to pass his teammate twice. There was a strategy difference which Ferrari thought could help them but it wasn’t to be.

Pere admitted that Sainz did put them under pressure to stop early on the soft compound, but they had enough in the bag to see-through the race. The Spaniard was happy to match at least one Red Bull car, while himself managing some brake issues.

Coming through from P5 to P2 –

Perez: “Yeah, I think starting from P5, it’s always nice to make good progress. There were a lot of battles on track, which around this place, you just go into a very different strategy once that happens. You are sliding a lot more in traffic. And I think overall, it’s a very good team result. Yeah, it was quite close with the Ferraris, with the Mercs early on. We were fighting with the DRS, obviously, being a lap earlier. It just changes a few things out there.”

Pressure from Sainz –

Perez: “Yeah, I knew that it was just about managing, you know, because he obviously pushed us to stop early and we just stopped quite early, actually. And it was going to be a very long stint, so we managed to progressively build a gap, keep that gap between us consistent and I think it worked well. We had a few other issues with the car towards the end of the race that meant that our degradation was getting quite a lot worse towards the end of the race.”

Attacking race –

Sainz: “I think it’s just important to start the season well, start the season with a strong race, not just for my future, just for myself, you know, because last year I spent a lot of the races, you know, looking in my mirror, saving tyres, defending my position. And I remember at the car launch saying, yeah, this year I wish we had a car to go racing, you know, and attack people and don’t care too much about the tires and make some overtaking moves and look forward rather than look backwards. And it’s exactly what we got. You know, I got an attacking race, a really good race pace and from there everything felt really good to finish P3. It wasn’t a straightforward and an easy race, but yeah, I enjoyed it a lot.”

Perez situation –

Sainz: “You guys need to consider that we’ve been testing here three days and I’ve been seeing that Red Bull degradation on Soft and it’s exactly the same as ours on the Hard. So as soon as I knew Red Bull had a new Soft for the last stint, and Checo had it, it’s not like I went, ‘OK, this is my chance’. I’ve seen the long runs they did on the C3 tyre, the Soft tyre in testing, and you could see that they basically have the same deg on the Soft than what everyone has on the Hard. So I wasn’t getting too excited. Also, I was in a bit of an uncomfortable position, you know, because you’re there in the two-, three-second margin, which is where you get all the dirty air, but you don’t get the advantage of the DRS and the slipstream, so you’re just sliding a bit more. If I would have been within a second or maybe five seconds behind, I think on the Hard tyre I could have maybe showed a bit more the true pace of the car and my pace today. But in that two, three seconds is the worst place to be and I could never mount any proper challenge on Checo today.”

Strategy forcing two times passing of Leclerc –

Sainz: “I don’t think it was an intended undercut. I think Charles degraded the tyres probably a bit earlier than me, and they decided to keep me out for three or four laps. Honestly, those three or four laps were very strong. I think I managed to go down to 37s, low 37s again. So it was worth it. And then, yeah, luckily it didn’t compromise my race because I could pass Charles fairly quickly and go and attack George, which I passed also quite quickly. So I don’t think I lost too much race time on that situation.”

Aggressive driver –

Sainz: “Yeah, it’s actually a bit of a relief, you know, because I remember last year, the last race where I was attacking was Austria. And we’re talking about 13, 14 races ago. And then the rest of the races last year, you just had to manage. You just had to look in the mirrors. You just had to control your pace. And there were very little opportunities to go and overtake people. And I love going racing, and I love going overtaking, being aggressive, attacking. And with last year’s car, it was simply impossible to do that. As soon as we were in dirty air, as soon as we overheated the tires, as soon as we pushed a bit too much, it was game over. And this year to come to the most rear-limited track of the season, the highest degradation, and do an overtaking. attacking race for me is a relief and it gives me a feeling that we will be able to do this more often this year. It doesn’t mean we will do it every race at all, because I still think one of our strongest parts of our car is qualifying, so I think we will still qualify maybe ahead of what maybe our true position is, but at least we’re not degrading and defending like crazy like we were doing last year.”

Here’s how F1 Bahrain GP panned out

Here’s link to a F1 Discord channel, join in to interact