Christian Horner gives curt response when quizzed on Sergio Perez ‘worries’

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez grimaces as he removes his earplugs

Sergio Perez has yet to beat Max Verstappen in a race in 2024

Christian Horner brushed off concerns about Sergio Perez hurting the team’s chances of retaining the Constructors’ title, after all, Red Bull “extended” their lead in Spain.

Although Perez was back into qualifying’s pole position shoot-out at the Barcelona circuit, his first Q3 appearance in four races, he lined up 11th on the grid after his Miami Grand Prix penalty.

Sergio Perez has yet to win a race in 2024

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

Starting P11, Red Bull opted for a three-stop strategy for the Mexican driver who brought his car home in eighth place.

He was, however, almost a minute down on his team-mate Max Verstappen who once again claimed the maximum points as he secured his seventh victory in 10 races.

The race result saw Red Bull extend their advantage in the Constructors’ Championship from 49 points to 60, but on a day when McLaren scored solid points and both Ferrari drivers finished ahead of Perez, Verstappen made the difference, as he has all season.

The Dutchman, who leads the Drivers’ Championship by 69 points ahead of Lando Norris, has whitewashed Perez in this season’s Grands Prix.

Asked if he was ‘worried’ that Perez ‘not performing well’ would hurt Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship, Horner told the media including “If I’m not mistaken we extended our lead again today.”

But told that the ‘competition is catching up’, he said: “We need Checo in the mix, he knows that and the team know that.

“And if he’s on the back end of the top eight, you lose strategic options, whether you split your strategies and so on.

“So Checo in the first four or five races this year was fantastic. We just need to get him back into that headspace.”

The stats that reveal Perez’s deficit to Verstappen

👉F1 2024: Head-to-head qualifying record between team-mates

👉F1 2024: Head-to-head race statistics between team-mates

Sergio Perez is a ‘confidence-driven driver’

Perez’s dip in form has come in the midst of the Mexican driver’s latest contract extension, Red Bull signing him to a new two-year deal.

Horner believes the 34-year-old just needs one good race weekend to find his stride.

“I think that he’s had a couple of different races,” he said. “Things haven’t gone his way and he’s a confidence-driven driver.

“He was back in the points, he drove a decent race, and hopefully he’ll take some confidence out of that for the coming races out.

“He works with a team of specialists so I’m sure he’s focused all across all areas.”

Horner revealed Red Bull’s simulations prior to the Grand Prix said eighth would be the “optimum” result starting 11th, and that’s what Perez achieved.

“Before the race, our simulation said P8 was the optimum from 11th on the grid. He achieved that on a three-stop strategy.

“I hope that he will take quite a bit of confidence out of that race and hopefully take that into the next couple of weekends, which are big weekends for him.”

Read next: Follow’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!