Sergio Perez called it “a dream come true” to drive a Red Bull Formula 1 car for the first time after completing his first outing for the team at Silverstone.
Following his winter switch from Racing Point, Sakhir Grand Prix winner Perez hit the track for the first time in a Red Bull car on Tuesday as part of his pre-season preparations.
Perez drove a 2019-spec Red Bull RB15 car during a private test at Silverstone before he samples the 2021 RB16B during a filming day shakedown on Wednesday.
Although Perez has been working hard with the Red Bull team at its Milton Keynes factory in recent weeks and running in its simulator, he was delighted to get on-track for the first time.
“It’s been an amazing day, my first day with Red Bull Racing,” Perez said.
“To look at my name on the car, it’s something extremely special and something that is definitely a dream come true.
“I have to say that I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made in terms of feeling a bit more comfortable. Obviously I’ve been driving in a car for seven years, in a cockpit, in a seat, with certain pedals, so just positioning yourself, it’s quite a challenge to get on top of.
“We’re working hard. We definitely made good steps in that, and I have to say that for the first day, I felt very comfortable.”
Perez was signed by Red Bull off the back of a hugely impressive 2020 season that saw the Mexican finish fourth in the drivers’ championship and score his maiden grand prix victory.
The move to a front-running team comes after a seven-season spell with the Racing Point squad, making the changes all the more noticeable for Perez.
“It’s still a Formula 1 car in the end, but the seat position is different, [as is] the steering wheel, the grip, the buttons, the procedures, the power unit, the power delivery, the torque,” Perez explained.
“We’ve done a lot of preparation, so many days in the simulator, at the factory, with the controls, getting on top of everything. I have to say that I’m very pleased with how my first day went, because I was on top of all the procedures, obviously improving and learning from them.
“But I think the preparation that we did up to this test day has been good. I think it’s been very helpful to have this first day with the team.”
After splitting filming day duties with new team-mate Max Verstappen on Wednesday at Silverstone, Perez will next sample the 2021 car at the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain next month.
But with just three days split between the drivers before the start of the new season, Perez said added test days even in older machinery was extremely useful.
“It’s very, very good to get these days with the team, to get to know my boys, to get to know the engineers, just to have a more fluid conversation,” Perez said.
“The way I explain the car is different to what they’ve been used to, vice-versa as well. Getting comfortable in the cockpit is important, so when we get to Bahrain, I’m able to just focus on getting the performance right.
“With a day and a half in the car, it’s really nothing. So the more we can get done here, the better we will be prepared for the first test in Bahrain.”