Christian Horner has said the Max Verstappen/Sergio Perez combination is “up there” with one of Red Bull’s best ever.
Red Bull tried to fit Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon into the Daniel Ricciardo-sized hole left by the Aussie after he decided to quit the team for a new adventure at the end of the 2018 season.
But, it has been the vastly experienced Perez that has been the able to hold down the seat for longer than one full season, having signed a new contract extension until the end of the 2022 campaign.
While Perez’s first season with Red Bull has not been perfect, with qualifying a particular struggle, he is still showing he is capable of making some valuable contributions with both World Championship titles on the line – as mostly recently seen in his wonderful defence against an advancing Lewis Hamilton at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Horner was asked where the Verstappen/Perez line-up stands in comparison to other Red Bull partnerships over the years and thinks it belongs near the very top of that list.
Gran resultado para el equipo en una pista que nos desfavorecía mucho ante Mercedes!
¡Contento de regresar al podium! ¡Buen trabajo equipo, a cerrar con todo las últimas 6!#TurkishGP
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) October 10, 2021
“It’s up there,” Horner told Sky F1.
“There was always a good dynamic with Daniel [Ricciardo], Alex [Albon] last year there was never any issues.
“But Sergio knows what the objectives are for these remaining races, and one of those key objectives is having him as close to the front as we can possibly get him.”
Asked to look at which tracks favour Mercedes or Red Bull more at the remaining six races, Horner replied: “50/50, I think there are some circuits we have run well at, the South American races have been good for us, there are a couple of tracks we have never been to so who knows.
“So it’s going to ebb and flow.”
Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber has also been asked for his assessment on the final six races to come and, like his old boss, feels there are going to be some more “twists and turns” to come.
“I think at Austin, the Merc will be strong there. Lewis has also got a great form card there personally, at that venue,” Webber told the F1 Nation podcast.
“But then you go the altitudes of Mexico and Brazil, Red Bull have had tremendous results there in the past.
“So, there’s nothing in the points. Six is it now? Nothing. It’s been an extraordinary championship. Here we are trying to dissect how and why it’s going to close out – I think you’d be a brave man or woman to try and predict.
“Is someone going to dominate the back end of this season? I think it’s just not going to happen. I think we’re going to have some twists and turns, we’re seeing the team-mates now play some roles.
“Are their horns going to get even bigger? Who knows, in terms of them stepping up in some wacky strategies.”
Verstappen expecting good battles with Mercedes at Austin
The German team may be favourites, but Max Verstappen expects to have good battles with Mercedes at Austin.