We may still only be in the first half of the 2021 season, but it looks like Sergio Perez has already done enough to earn himself a contract extension with Red Bull.
The arrival of Perez at Red Bull ahead of the 2021 campaign represented a change in philosophy at the four-time Constructors’ champions.
Both Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon were promoted from within the Red Bull driver programme set-up but neither could fill the big shoes left behind by Daniel Ricciardo.
With Red Bull needing two drivers to take the fight to Mercedes, they looked outside of their pool of drivers and instead drafted in Perez after he became available follow Aston Martin’s decision to replace him with Sebastian Vettel.
That decision already looks to be a smart one as Perez has a race win, a further podium appearance and five other top five results in his opening eight races with the team.
His efforts, alongside Max Verstappen’s dominant run of form this season, has seen Red Bull open up a 40-point gap to Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of Austrian Grand Prix.
And it is Checo’s strong race performances that has already convinced Red Bull bosses he should be Verstappen’s team-mate again in 2022.
¡Gracias a todos por todo su apoyo en cada una de las vueltas que he dado! ¡Llegar a 200 carreras este fin es especial para mi carrera!
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) July 1, 2021
“We’re really happy with the job Checo’s doing, so we’ll be sitting down with him in due course,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.
“Obviously there’s a few races to get out of the way between now and the summer break, but we’re happy with the points he’s hoovering up and the job he’s doing.
“I don’t think it’ll be a lengthy discussion, so it’s pretty straightforward. So at the right time, we’ll have that chat.”
Demoted Gasly had made no secret of the fact that he was looking to earn himself another promotion to the Red Bull team, but that door appears firmly closed given Horner’s comments.
Gasly looks set to remain at sister AlphaTauri for at least another season, unless any of the other Formula 1 teams act upon their interest in the Frenchman.