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Red Bull “most competitive car I have driven” - Perez

Red Bull “most competitive car I have driven” - Perez

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Red Bull “most competitive car I have driven” - Perez

Red Bull “most competitive car I have driven” - Perez
Ian Parkes & Will Gray

Red Bull newcomer Sergio Perez has praised the team’s new machine as the “most competitive” car he has ever driven.

The team has been tipped by some as early season favourites going into Sunday's opening race in Bahrain after reigning champions Mercedes appeared to struggle in pre-season testing compared to the RB16B that showed an impressive turn of pace.

Despite completing just 166 laps [898km] of running in pre-season, Perez already feels this year’s car is a step above anything he has previously driven.

“It’s all relative to the others, how competitive, but it seems to be that it is the most competitive car I have driven so far,” said Perez, whose career spans spells with Sauber, McLaren and Force India.

“I don’t think I have driven the car enough, but definitely I would put it up there. It has really, really good potential. We will see in the coming days.”

If the car has impressed the 31-year-old, it seems the team itself has made even more of an immediate impression as the Mexican driver has described the mentality as “very different” from what he has experienced before.

“The team is full of racers,” he explained. “Everyone is just a racer. It is just a very good atmosphere. It’s all about winning. The mentality, the focus, it is very different. Straightaway you can notice that.

“They do everything at the limit. Whether it’s pitstops, a meeting, if it is related to performance, they just go flat out and that is something very impressive.”

Perez also revealed there are “areas I can see that can be improved” within the team, with team-mate Max Verstappen believing external influences from other teams could be a benefit to Red Bull.

Perez is the first driver in years who has not been brought up through the Red Bull stable and is the first to have experienced operational differences between different teams.

That could be a big benefit as Red Bull chase down Mercedes this season. Perez added: “This is about growing together and having an impact with the team. I am very excited.

“It has been a lot of work during these months with the team getting up to speed. I am looking forward to when I finally start and get the season underway and just keep improving race after race. I am looking forward to Sunday.”

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