Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Sergio Perez’s fourth place finish at last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix was “important for his confidence”, ahead of the final two races of 2023.
Despite qualifying in ninth after being caught out by a yellow flag, Perez looked back to his best at Interlagos.
The 33-year-old displayed excellent pace and pulled off several smart overtakes, most notably on Lewis Hamilton.
Given that it’s Hamilton that he’s fighting for second in the Drivers’ Championship, this must’ve brought a smile to Perez’s face.
He only just missed out on the podium by a staggering 0.053s, following a remarkable fight with Fernando Alonso.
Regardless of Checo missing out on the podium, his Brazilian GP performance certainly gave him “the boost he needs”, ahead of the new street circuit in Las Vegas and then the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
“I think it was important for his confidence,” Horner said, as reported by The Express.
“This is the Checo that we know, and we know what he is capable of. It will give him just the boost he needs going to Vegas, another street track that he always performs well at. And then it’s Abu Dhabi one week after.”
To add to the importance of Perez finishing fourth, Hamilton dropped all the way down to eighth, resulting in the seven-time World Champion now being 32 points behind the Red Bull driver.
Perez could seal second in the standings next weekend in Las Vegas, something which would be even more likely had he held onto third.
The 33-year-old had overtaken Alonso on the penultimate lap but made a mistake on the final lap, which gave Alonso the opportunity he needed to get the position back.
Despite this, Horner thought his driver performed “brilliantly” on what was a “very strong weekend for him”.
“I thought he drove brilliantly well,” Horner noted.
“He had a little bit of a wobble at [Turn] 2, which allowed Fernando, who was pretty quick on the straights today, to have a go. He did his best to hang on to it though.
“But I think for Checo to outscore Lewis by 12 points this weekend, it’s been a very strong weekend for him. A third [place]in the sprint, fourth from ninth on the grid with the yellow flag he got in qualifying, I think there’s been very good points for him.”