Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo told patience is a virtue at Red Bull and McLaren

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Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo are both seasoned race-winning Formula One drivers, with nearly 400 race starts, eight wins and 41 podiums between, however so far this season, they’ve both been outpaced by their team-mates at Red Bull and McLaren respectively.

Perez joined Red Bull after very nearly finding himself out of a seat for 2021, with the newly branded Aston Martin team opting for the four-time champion Sebastian Vettel instead.

However, Perez replaced British-Thai driver Alexander Albon at Red Bull to partner Max Verstappen, who has successfully outpaced all of his team-mates over a full season at Red Bull, bar 2017.

After struggling in the first race of the season, Perez came back with a bang in Imola, out-qualifying Verstappen, and starting second on the grid for the first time in his career.

However, after a poor start, Perez spun behind the Safety Car and rejoined – but was hit with a 10-second time penalty for overtaking cars to retake his P4 position

Team boss Christian Horner however was supportive of his new recruit.

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“It’s just time in the seat. It’s different to what he’s used to,” said Horner on Sunday. “He did a mega job yesterday to put it on the front row, only just missed out on that pole position and there’s great races to come from him in the future.

“You could see in clean air his pace was strong; he just got caught in that DRS train at the end there. But yeah, it was a tough day for all of them today.

“So tough for him [Perez], and we should have taken some points out of Mercedes today,” said Horner. “He had good pace in the race and there’s still a long, long way to go,” he added.

And Daniel Ricciardo, who moved over this season from Renault to McLaren to partner Lando Norris, has struggled to match his team-mate at the Woking-based team. Despite out-qualifying Norris in Imola, he still had to settle for P6, while his team-mate finished on the podium.

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However, McLaren boss Andreas Seidl says it’s just “a matter of a few more race weekends” before Ricciardo gets to grips with the car.

“We know it is not just straightforward to jump from one car into another one, and only have one and half days of testing,” said Seidl, when asked whether he expected drivers to struggle at new teams.

“And we have seen from other drivers, all these drivers are very talented and have a lot of experience, and they adapt very quickly and straight away. But these cars are complex, and to find these last two, three, four, tenths, but also make the difference when how comfortable they are to push these cars to the limit, that is not straightforward to find and get out of these cars.

“That takes time. It is not a surprise,” he continued, “it is part of the process of integrating a new driver, and with the experience Daniel has, in the experience we have within the team, it is just a matter of a few more race weekends before Daniel is fully comfortable in our car.”

“I’m also happy with how Daniel was battling it through today,” he continued. “It was not an easy race for him because he did not feel that comfortable in the car compared to Lando all weekend to drive the car at the limit.

“Daniel drove a great race, and still scoring points despite the struggles he is still having with our car at the moment – scoring a very important P6 for us. So very happy with that.”

McLaren head to Portugal next with 41 points on the board – just seven fewer than Red Bull and seven more than Ferrari.

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