Christian Horner breaks silence on Sergio Perez amid axe rumours

Sergio Perez's lack of podium finishes has raised questions about his place at the dominant Red Bull team.

Following Sergio Perez’s third consecutive race without a podium finish, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has publicly expressed his support for the driver. 

While Max Verstappen secured a convincing victory at the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix, Perez struggled throughout the weekend, failing to reach Q3 and finishing sixth, nearly a minute behind his teammate.

Perez’s recent performance comes after a sixth-place finish in Monaco and a fourth-place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix. 

When asked about his concerns regarding Perez’s form, Horner addressed the issue, stating: “He just needs a good weekend to lift his confidence. 

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“I think he’s had three difficult weekends and three difficult Saturdays that then puts you on the back foot on a Sunday. 

“We’ve seen what Checo is capable of only a month or two ago, and I think he just needs to have a strong weekend to find that confidence, and then I’ve got no doubt he’ll be back.”

In Canada, Perez faced challenges from the start, as he was eliminated in Q2 due to a slow banker lap and delayed tire switch to slicks, a situation reminiscent of Lewis Hamilton’s near mishap. 

During the race, Perez engaged in an intense battle with Carlos Sainz, briefly taking the lead before Sainz reclaimed the position. 

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However, Perez struggled to make progress against the Ferraris for the remainder of the race, remaining behind Sainz despite the assistance of Red Bull’s dominant DRS system. 

Ultimately, Perez slipped back in the standings, finishing in sixth place.

Max Verstappen has a history of overshadowing his teammates, as both Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly struggled to match his pace during their stints as his teammates. 

Even Daniel Ricciardo, known for his strong performances, found it challenging to keep up with Verstappen. 

Horner’s comments echo similar sentiments expressed about Albon in 2020, emphasising the need for a clean weekend to demonstrate his capabilities.

Despite Perez’s recent struggles, he is under contract with Red Bull until the end of 2024. 

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While the team currently possesses the most dominant car on the grid, his lack of competitiveness compared to Verstappen is not a major concern. 

When asked about Perez’s future with the team, Horner provided reassurance, stating: “He’s second in the world championship at the moment. 

“He’s the only other driver to have won races other than Max this year. So yeah, we need to support him through this period, and I’m sure he’ll find his form again soon.”