Sergio Perez has conceded he is “still far away” from feeling at home with Red Bull despite an encouraging performance at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Mexican has shown glimpses of his best form since switching to the Milton Keynes-based outfit over the winter, fighting back from the rear of the field to fifth in Bahrain before slipping from second to 12th at Imola.
Despite being held up by Lando Norris early on at Portimão, Perez showed race-leading pace and the trademark nursing of his tyres to finish fourth and score valuable points for Red Bull.
“Now that I am driving the car in more or less free air throughout the race, I’ve seen the way I have to adapt, the way I have to look after the tyres, that’s all positive," said Perez.
But asked if he felt at home with the car, he replied: “Not yet. I am still far away from that. So, it’s just a process I guess and hopefully, very soon I can be at home with the race, with the team, and very much feel with it.”
Perez qualified fourth in Portimão, just 0.144 seconds slower than team-mate Max Verstappen but pointed to his lack of pace at the start as to why he was out of touch with the top three.
“Everything started off the line,” added Perez. “On my side, there wasn’t a lot of grip. I went straight into wheel spin so I lost a position to Carlos [Sainz].
"Then I recovered the position after that at the restart but then I lost it to Lando [Norris] down into turn five.
“I looked in my mirrors and I thought Lando was totally off the track limits so I didn’t fight the position enough, thinking that he was going to give me back the place, but I probably misjudged that one.
“It took me a couple of laps to get past Lando, and that created the gap to the leaders that I was basically off the race by then.”