Christian Horner responds to Helmut Marko’s Sergio Perez title ‘dream’ claim

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez in serious conversation with Helmut Marko. Britain July 2023

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez in serious conversation with Helmut Marko.

Told by Helmut Marko his championship dream is over, Christian Horner says Sergio Perez knows that “barring a disaster” for Max Verstappen, the Red Bull motorsport advisor wasn’t wrong in his comments.

With his season imploding one qualifying session after another from Monaco to Britain, even a return to the podium with a third place at the Hungarian Grand Prix wasn’t enough to re-ignite Perez’s title hopes.

He went one better in Belgium with a runner-up result but given it was Verstappen who won both races, the Dutchman extending his winning streak to eight, Perez’s deficit to his team-mate is up to 125 points.

Sergio Perez knows ‘this championship is out of reach’

That had Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko saying rather bluntly now that the title is no longer a consideration for Perez, “maybe” he’ll put in better performances on the track.

“He has now woken up from his World Championship dream,” declared the 80-year-old at Spa. “Maybe that will help him to focus again on delivering the best possible performance.”

That was put to Red Bull team boss Horner with the Briton conceding in a nicer way that the title is over for Perez.

“I think we will know that Helmut is fairly straightforward in some of his analysis,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.

“But I think that Checo knows that barring a disaster for Max that this championship is out of reach, so it’s about him maximising his own performance, not losing ground to any of the rivals behind, and then try to pick up a few wins between now and the end of the year.”

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Spa billed as a much-welcomed ‘confidence’ boost for Perez

The World title may be a step too far for Perez but with his first back-to-back podiums since Baku and Miami almost three months ago, the Mexican driver extended his advantage in the race for P2 in the Drivers’ standings to 40 points ahead of Fernando Alonso.

The podium results also gave him some breathing room from Lewis Hamilton with the Mercedes driver having out-scored Perez in four of the previous five races before Hungary.

“I think he’ll have taken a lot more confidence out of the weekend,” said Horner. “He put it on the front row, he led the grand prix, he’s finished second.

“So yeah, he’s a clear second in the Drivers’ World Championship, so I think he’ll take some confidence out of that.”

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