Red Bull engineer Paul Monaghan praised the “brilliant” Sergio Perez for his “presence of mind” to restart his car at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
There was plenty of attention focused on Red Bull heading into the season opener, with talk of them potentially being favourites ahead of Mercedes, and Perez was very much under the spotlight which that second Red Bull seat often brings.
It was certainly not the start he would have hoped for, qualifying only P11, but things got worse before the race even began.
He suffered an electrical shut down during the formation lap and it looked for a while like he could be in for a DNS on his Red Bull debut, but he was able to restart the car and start from the end of the pit-lane.
He revealed after the race, in which he climbed to fifth, that he was very close to climbing out of the car, but Monaghan has praised the initiative he showed.
As quoted by Motorsport Week, he said: “On the laps to the grid there were no signs of any errors, the car behaved itself perfectly.
“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, 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.
“As is often the case with these kinds of intermittent faults, the car then runs faultlessly of course.
“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.”
Drama before the start as Sergio Perez grinds to a halt
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 28, 2021
Coming up from the back of the grid is not something which Perez is a stranger to, having done so at the same venue last season – albeit a different circuit – to claim his first ever grand prix win.
That was different circumstances, though, with a collision putting him dead last, but this time round it was a technical issue which could well have ruled him out of the race.
“I don’t know what happened,” Perez admitted. “Everything went off. I lost engine, lost ignition, I thought that was it.
“Then I heard Jonathan [Wheatley] on the radio and was like ‘what’, this thing woke up, I turned on the engine and I had to start from the pit-lane.
“There’s a lot of work ahead to be in contention where we want to be but the positive is the pace was good so we’re getting there.”