Perez hailed by Red Bull after recovering from pre-race shut down

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Red Bull heaped praise on Sergio Perez for his reaction after his car unexpectedly shut down on the formation lap.

The Mexican's first race for the team appeared over before it had begun when he pulled onto the side of the track shortly before the last corner.

However, after successfully rebooting the engine, Perez was able to take to start from the pit lane.

“I don’t know what happened, really,” he said afterwards. “I was in the middle of the corner and everything went off.

"I lost engine, I lost ignition, I thought that that was it, and all of a sudden I started to hear Jonathan [Wheatley, Sporting Director] on the radio and I was like ‘whoa’.

“But this thing woke up and I turned on the engine and I had to start from the pitlane. A lot of work ahead of us to be back in contention in the place that we want to be, but the positive is that the pace was good today, so we’re getting there."

Indeed, after coming from the back of the field to win on the Outer Circuit in Bahrain last year, Perez came through from 20th to fifth, earning himself the 'Driver of the Day' award in doing so. 

“Considering how my race started, I think we can be pleased,” he added. “The most important of today that I was able to do the race, you know? And yesterday I missed out in Q3. I missed a lot of mileage, so that wasn’t ideal.

“Today I did the race and I think I had a lot of understanding and a lot of data to go through with the engineers and a lot of work ahead of us but we can see that things are… clicking better. Everything was feeling better in the race, so I’m pleased with that.”

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While most of the focus was on Max Verstappen's battle with Lewis Hamilton for the win, Perez's performance was far from unnoticed by his new team.

“On the laps to the grid there were no signs of any errors, the car behaved itself perfectly," Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan explained.

“On the formation lap, we started to have some difficulties. There’s a cut out on the car that protects it and it’s quite entertaining, the sequence of events.

“The thing has lost all electrical power but Checo has the presence of mind, like when your laptop has gone wrong you switch it off and back on again.

“The steering wheel bursts back into life, starts the engine, [he] gets back around to the end of the pit-lane and waits for everyone else to form up and starts from the pit-lane.

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“As is often the case with these kinds of intermittent faults, the car then runs faultlessly of course," Monaghan mused.

“He was brilliant, he recovered, he didn’t get frustrated. He hasn’t lost his motivation, he’s got on with it and moved up the field and done a very decent race and he’s scored us a load of points from being on the side of the road on the formation lap and no power in the car.

“Thank goodness for him having the presence of mind. He had no radio comms, we didn’t tell him to do the ignition reset, he did it for us.”