Christian Horner has admitted Sergio Perez has “got to sort his qualifying out” to get “both cars in contention” on race weekends.
As Max Verstappen stormed to a sixth race win in a row at Silverstone on Sunday, Perez was left with another recovery drive as a Q1 exit in Britain was his fifth qualifying in a row without reaching the top 10 shootout in qualifying.
He recovered in the race to reach sixth place come the chequered flag, but with the Red Bull RB19 being the class of the field, he will have been hoping for more from his weekend.
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper
Sergio Perez ‘needs to break’ lean qualifying spell
While Perez has been able to make decent headway in almost all of the races in which he has qualified out of position, getting onto the podium in Austria, former Red Bull driver Mark Webber pointed out over the weekend that an “old fart” like him would be able to make up positions in the RB19.
When it comes to one-lap pace, Red Bull team principal Horner believes that there could be a mental element that is preventing him from performing to his best at the moment, rather than outright talent.
With the Mexican on a poor run of form relative to his team-mate, Verstappen has extended his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to 99 points, where Perez had initially hoped to challenge the Dutchman to a title fight after an extremely promising start to the season.
But to get back into the groove, the Red Bull boss feels Perez needs to get back on form in qualifying as soon as possible.
“He just needs to break it now,” Horner told media including PlanetF1.com after the race at Silverstone when asked about Perez’s barren Q3 streak.
“He’ll do it in Budapest, I’m confident. You know, because the way he races, some of his moves in the race, the one in particular on Carlos Sainz was quite stunning into Stowe – and if you look at his pace in the last stint, he was right there.
“It’s frustrating for him that he’s having to fight back all the time, but he’s just got to sort his qualifying out on Saturday and, as a team, we’ll do our best to support him on that.
“It’s just one of those things that I think, as in all sport, 90% of it is in the head, and I think that he just needs a good run and he’ll find his momentum again.
“At the moment he’s still running second in the championship and I think he’s extended his lead over Fernando [Alonso] today.
“So we’ve got a good car, but we need to make sure that we’ve got both cars in contention.”