Sergio Perez says he has been able to adapt his style to suit Red Bull Formula 1 machinery despite its reputation for its designs being tricky to drive.
Even before taking to the track in Red Bull cars, first in the 2019-specification RB15 at Silverstone earlier this week then during a promotional day in the new RB16B, Perez was able to get on top of the required style in simulator running.
“I am confident in my abilities. But the thing is it will take a bit of time before I get on top of everything” :: Sergio Perez
He described the Red Bull cars as different to the Racing Point machinery he had become used to in previous seasons.
“It is different, you can spot the differences,” said Perez of adapting.
“The strong front end that the car has and so on, those are things that as soon as you jump into the car in the simulator you can sort them out fairly quickly.”
Max Verstappen has dominated his past two Red Bull team-mates, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly, with Perez signed because the team believes he can be closer to its lead driver’s pace than its recent choices.
Perez is confident that once he settles in and is able to extract the most from himself in his new team, he can deliver well relative to Verstappen.
“I am confident in my abilities,” said Perez when asked if he believes he can take the fight to Verstappen.
“But the thing is it will take a bit of time before I get on top of everything but I don’t see why with time I can’t.
“Once I am on top of all the things I need to know on the car I can be at my [maximum] level.
Perez has also had the chance to familiarise himself with the Honda engine having previously only driven cars powered by Mercedes during F1’s V6 turbo hybrid era.
He is impressed by the progress made by Honda, but is unsure of how the power unit performance will stack up against Mercedes.
“They’ve done a lot of progress from what I’ve seen so far and I think they are up for it,” said Perez of Honda.
“We know the guys are working extremely hard to close the gap to the Merc and they have clearly done some good progress.
“But whether that’s enough to be a match with the Mercs remains to be seen. We are pushing hard and things are very interesting.”
Perez described his preparations for the new season as “very hectic” given how late his one-year deal for 2021 was completed.
But he’s confident that the work will pay off and allow him to hit the ground running when pre-season testing starts in Bahrain next month.
“It’s been very hectic,” said Perez. “Once I got the contract done, it was very late in the year but the motivation was extremely high.
“I basically haven’t had a holiday. I’ve been working flat out on my fitness trying to be as ready as possible, and with the engineers.
“To the factory backwards and forwards, spending the time and doing the things that matter to try to be up to speed as soon as I get into the Bahrain test.”