Sergio Perez has revealed that he could feel that there was an issue with his Red Bull power unit not long before the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix as he and Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen both ended up out of the race.
Verstappen had looked set to end the opening race of the season in second with Perez behind in fourth, but a “heavy” steering wheel for Verstappen was the beginning of an agglomeration of issues for the Milton Keynes team as the Dutchman ground to a halt a few laps from the end.
Shortly thereafter, Perez’s engine abruptly cut out as he defended his newly inherited podium position from Sir Lewis Hamilton, putting the Mexican out of the race as well and making for an abysmal opening round for Red Bull.
Following the Dutchman’s untimely departure from the race, the 32-year-old could feel that his engine was encountering difficulties.
“I could feel a couple of laps before the end that I was losing a bit of power,” he told Sky Sports.
“The engine was cutting off at times so we knew there was an issue, we knew what happened to Max and unfortunately it just happened at the last lap.
“We were easily on the podium, we held back Lewis which was really tough [because] he was very fast at the end and [it’s] a bit of a shame really that we didn’t get the result.”
When it was put to him that his team only have a week until the next race in Saudi Arabia to solve the problems that they succumbed to this weekend, Perez affirmed that he has every faith in Red Bull to do so.
“Yeah but we are a great team and I really believe in them and I’m sure we will get to the bottom of it,” he replied.
He also acknowledged that this was only the first round of a 23-race season, meaning that there is plenty still to play for throughout the year.
“It’s a very disappointing race today, we are disappointed, [it’s a] disappointing start for our season but we now how long Formula 1 years can be,” he equivocated.
The FIA reportedly gave Red Bull more time on Sunday over the curfew to work on the cars, and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggested that a fuel pump issue might have been what plagued both cars.