Christian Horner says Sergio Perez knew what his job would be when he joined Red Bull, “helping Max and the team win the title”.
Perez joined Red Bull at the beginning of this year, the Mexican driver signing on as Max Verstappen’s third team-mate in as many seasons.
Like Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon before him, Perez trails Verstappen in the Drivers’ standings.
While the Dutchman has 226.5 and seven race wins, Perez has just 118 points and one win, P1 in Azerbaijan.
Despite that he has already been confirmed by Red Bull for next year’s championship because his job isn’t to challenge Verstappen, it is “helping” his team-mate win the Drivers’ title.
“In the middle of the triple-header, we confirmed that Checo would remain in the team in 2022,” Horner began in reference to Pérez. “We think he has done enough to justify another contract.
“He knew what his role was this year: helping Max and the team win the title.
“Of course, with a new car for 2022, with the experience he has, keep him was the correct and logical option.”
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Perez has assisted Verstappen several times already this season, the most recent being at Monza when he gave his team-mate the tow in Friday evening’s qualifying.
Said to be worth half a second, Verstappen qualified P3 behind the Mercedes drivers while Perez was down in ninth.
Horner said: “The way he [Perez] performed at Monza, giving the slipstream to his team-mate in each session… He played the perfect role as a team driver and it was a shame he wasn’t on the podium.
“But good races are ahead for Checo and I have the feeling that things are going to turn out very well for him. He has had some bad luck and I think that will change.”
Horner hinted that one race where Perez won’t be called upon to help Verstappen will be his home race, the Mexican Grand Prix.
There it will all be about Perez, at least that’s how it stands right now.
“The Mexican GP is going to be something special,” added the team boss. “I think we can expect to see similar scenes to Zandvoort.
“It will be brilliant for Checo to experience that level of support at home and I am sure it will inspire him to achieve something special. We are all looking forward to it.”