Christian Horner opens up on ‘frustrating’ Sergio Perez performances

Sergio Perez is currently third in the Drivers' Standings after 13 rounds of the 2022 season.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is confident that Sergio Perez can bounce back from his rough patch of late.

The Mexican out-qualified team-mate Max Verstappen twice in a row in Monaco and Baku earlier this season having previously taken pole position in Jeddah.

Perez was unlucky to be denied his first win of the season in Saudi Arabia by a badly timed Safety Car, but his luck came back around in time for Monaco, where he won after taking advantage of a poor strategy from Ferrari.

However, since his second-placed finish behind Verstappen in Baku, things have not been easy for the 32-year-old.

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Perez was struggling to get into the third and final qualifying session in a wet session in Canada, and his eagerness to push landed him in the wall, before a gearbox failure put him out of the race.

He suffered another difficult weekend over the course of the British Grand Prix, but recovered to take second following damage for Verstappen, as well as another error from Ferrari that put Charles Leclerc down to fourth from the lead – Carlos Sainz took his maiden win.

The former Racing Point driver was eliminated in the second qualifying session in Austria when he set a legitimate lap time good enough for P13, and was eventually penalised for setting a lap that was good enough to make it into Q3, but was illegal as he crossed the white line.

He recovered from 13th to fifth in the sprint, but was wiped out on the opening lap by George Russell, culminating a frustrating weekend.

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An underwhelming French Grand Prix saw him finish behind both Mercedes cars of Sir Lewis Hamilton and Russell as he missed out on a podium while Verstappen won, and things did not get much better in Budapest.

Perez was eliminated in Q2 in Hungary, and he finished fifth ahead of Leclerc after yet another calamity from Ferrari.

Verstappen had started 10th because of power unit troubles, but he managed to win the race by nearly 10 seconds from Hamilton.

It all leaves Perez 85 points behind team-mate Verstappen in the Drivers’ Standings after he once looked like a title contender, but Horner believes that his driver can yet pull his form back in the final nine races.

“I think he’s had a couple of bits of bad luck like in Montreal,” he told GPFans.

“Obviously, Austria was frustrating, he lost a lot of points in Austria but he’ll find his feet, I’ve got no doubt about that.”

Mercedes have been taking a lot of points off Ferrari of late by claiming seven podiums in the last six races, and it was that reason Verstappen joked he was happy to see Hamilton and Russell at the front.

READ: Christian Horner downplays importance of Ferrari misfortune

The Austrian team lead Ferrari by 97 points in the Constructors’ Standings, while the reigning champion is 80 clear of Leclerc in the drivers’ fight.

However, Horner is acutely aware of how quickly things can change, so there is no room for complacency.

“The team will just do the best that we can to maximise each result, each opportunity that we have,” he explained.

“Max is in a strong place in a drivers’ championship, but we’ve seen how quickly things can turn around, we’re taking nothing for granted.

“There’s still such a lot of racing still to do and a sprint race still to come, we’re going to treat each weekend as we have done so far this year and look to maximise our points versus our competitors.”

Ferrari, meanwhile, now find themselves just 30 points clear of Mercedes as the German side begin to apply the blowtorch in the scrap for second.