Bahrain Grand Prix start abandoned as Sergio Perez encounters problem on Red Bull debut

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Sergio Perez forced the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix to be delayed after suffering an issue during the formation lap. Red Bull enjoyed a mixed bag in qualifying on Saturday with Max Verstappen claiming his fourth career pole.

But Perez was unable to get out of Q2 on the medium compound, starting 11th on the grid for his Red Bull debut.

There was still some hope that Perez would be able to work through the field to push towards the front of the pack.

However, his race looked like it may have been over before it even began on Sunday.

The Mexican driver stopped on the track during the formation lap with no clear signs that his car would be able to start back up again.

All the other cars were lined up on the grid ready for the start of the race but then it was confirmed that another formation lap would be needed.

Perez was able to get his car started up again, but had to go through and start from the pit lane.

The 31-year-old asked over the team radio: “What was the problem?”

“We’re not sure Checo. We are looking into it,” Perez’s race engineer said over the radio.

Christian Horner confirmed that Honda’s mechanices made a change of the energy store in Perez’s car.

The race eventually got underway after the second formation lap but after just three corners the safety car had to be deployed.

Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin crashed out at Turn Three, which had to be cleared before the race could get back underway.

Red Bull used that to bring Perez in for a change of tyre strategy and once the safety car came in, he began making his way through the field.

Starting at the back of the grid, Perez managed to climb up to 13th in just a handful of laps.

Meanwhile at the front of the grid, Verstappen was able to keep Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at bay.

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