Perez’s tyre management is ‘second to none’

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

From timing to pressure, Christian Horner says Sergio Perez brings a “dynamic” to Red Bull that Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon weren’t able to.

Perez joined Red Bull ahead of this year’s championship, signed as Max Verstappen’s third team-mate in as many years.

Following on from Daniel Ricciardo’s departure, the team promoted Gasly only to drop him midway through 2019 and put Albon in the car.

However, the Thai driver also fell short of expectations, dropped at the end of 2020 in favour of putting Sakhir GP winner Perez in the car.

Already the former Racing Point driver has done what Gasly and Albon couldn’t do, he has won a race, taking the chequered flag at this year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

It was Perez’s first podium with Red Bull with the Mexican driver following that up with a second top-three finish at the French GP where he was P3.

But while Perez is still struggling to find pace in qualifying, only once qualifying ahead of Max Verstappen, his race pace, barring a few mistakes, has impressed his new team boss.

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“I think he just gives us that experience,” Horner told the Beyond the Grid podcast. “He’s got 10 years worth of experience.

“He’s got an ability to manage the tyres within a race that is second to none, and it just brings a different dynamic into the line up.

“Both Pierre and Alex are tremendously gifted drivers, but timing just wasn’t right, and then the pressured environment that we have, and the expectation, it was very tough for them.

“It was a bold move to step out of the scheme this year with Checo – for the first time since Mark Webber, we’ve taken a non-Red Bull junior driver.

“But the way he settled in and the way he’s delivering, particularly after that victory in Bahrain last year, it would have been very tough for him not to be in Formula 1.

“I think he brings the dynamic in the fight that we have with Mercedes that’s starting to pay dividends. You saw that in the French Grand Prix, and also Azerbaijan getting his first victory.

“I thought the way he fended off Lewis, Lewis probably would have won that race had it not been for Checo.

“He’s absolutely delivering.”

Perez is third in the Drivers’ Championship, his 104 points helping Red Bull edge Mercedes in the Constructors’ standings.

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