Sergio Perez says he was able to learn a lot about how Max Verstappen drives Red Bull's F1 2021 challenger in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.

Perez finished fifth on his first outing for Red Bull, recovering from the pit lane after suffering an electrical fault on the formation lap.

The Mexican could only manage 11th in qualifying, whereas teammate Max Verstappen stormed to pole position and narrowly missed out on the race victory at the expense of Lewis Hamilton.

Perez believes he has improved his understanding of how to drive Red Bull’s RB16B and will take what he has learnt into this weekend at Imola.

“I learned a lot,” Perez said. “I learned more about Max’s driving style and how the car has to be driven to extract the maximum from it. I think that was the biggest learning, I know what balance I need from the car throughout the weekend.”

Perez has stressed the importance of qualifying this weekend due to the tight nature of Imola making it difficult to overtake.

“My goal is to have a good race and I’m looking forward to the weekend,” Perez added. “Hopefully, in Imola, we can come back and be in contention to fight for a podium and hopefully the win. Unlike Bahrain, qualifying is very important at Imola as you can hardly overtake there but I like it.

“I think it’s going to be very tight with Mercedes and we’re going to see if the fight is circuit related. It will be interesting to see how we are in Imola, on a very different track to Bahrain, and see how we compare against them.”