Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan has praised “brilliant” new driver Sergio Perez for the “presence of mind” that enabled him to recover his car from a pre-race shutdown and fight back into the points in Bahrain.
Perez's car ground to a halt on the formation lap and despite his lack of experience with the settings and a total lack of communication with the team, he was able to reset the system, restart the engine and start the race from the pit lane.
The Mexican went on to finish fifth and Monaghan said: “Thank goodness for his presence of mind. He’s got no radio comms. We can’t tell him to do the ignition reset, but he did it for us.
“He was brilliant. He didn’t get frustrated, didn’t lose his motivation, he just got on with it, moved up through the field, had a decent race and scored us a load of points from a formation lap when he was parked at the side of the road.”
Perez's issues started an hour before the race as his pit crew was forced to change the energy store and control electronics on the RB16B.
Despite this, Monaghan has conceded the team was baffled by the issue that caused the car to shut down but has insisted they will get to the bottom of it and hope to give Perez an easier time at the next race at Imola.
“Before the race there was a small electrical issue,” explained Monaghan. “We dealt with that. On the lap to the grid, [there was] no sign of any error but on the formation lap the car started to have difficulties.
“It’s quite entertaining, the sequence of events. The car has lost all electrical power and Checo has the presence of mind, like your laptop’s gone wrong, switch it off, switch it on again.
“The steering wheel bursts back into life, turns the engine back on, comes back, waits for everyone to form themselves up and starts from the pitlane. As is often the case with intermittent faults, the car then runs faultlessly for the race.
“We’ve got something to find there [to uncover the issue]. We’ll track it down and arrive in Imola and hopefully give him a smoother ride.”
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