Christian Horner’s take on Max Verstappen wiping the floor with Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez has claimed just two wins in 2023, whereas Max Verstappen has won 10 times for Red Bull.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has praised Sergio Perez for showing “great mental resilience” alongside formidable team-mate Max Verstappen.

Verstappen has been unbeatable in recent years and is well on his way to securing a third consecutive Drivers’ Championship.

He sits 125 points ahead of Perez in the standings, with the Mexican often being unable to match Verstappen’s pace.

This is despite the duo having the same car, which Verstappen has made much better use of than Perez.

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The Dutchman has claimed 10 wins so far in 2023, compared to Checo’s two.

Horner puts this down to Verstappen simply having a “tremendous natural feel” for the car and whatever circuit he’s at, with him being able to lap quickly straight away.

“I think he’s just got this this feel for the limits of grip and got such a confidence in himself and his own ability to get there so quickly,” Horner told the ESPN Unlapped Podcast.

“You look at his laps the first time he turned up at a new circuit or his lap times, his first lap of the day will often be two or three seconds quicker than anybody else.

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“He has tremendous natural feel and the ability to understand what the car needs from his input to get the most out of it. It’s fascinating to see because, he just adapts so quickly to a situation or condition with a car.”

Despite Verstappen’s obliteration of Perez, Horner thinks the Mexican has done well alongside him.

Perez arguably just doesn’t have the consistency to fight for the title, something he also lacked last season, as did Charles Leclerc.

However, Horner recognises that no matter what Perez does, it’s going to look bad compared to Verstappen.

It’s because of this that the Red Bull boss thinks the Mexican has shown great mental strength, especially based on how often his future is discussed by the media.

“Being Max’s teammate is never going to be an easy year. I think Checo has actually done very well the last two and a half years to achieve and do what he’s done,” Horner explained.

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“That takes great mental resilience because not only is he got that data that he’s staring down the barrel, he’s got you guys [journalists] every weekend giving him grief saying ‘Why are you in your teammates level?’

“Well, nobody’s at his teammates level. But he’s still second in the world championship, 40 points ahead of third place, having one-two’s in a couple of Grands Prix and finishing second in at least another four of them.

“He’s had a decent season, but anything compared to Max is secondary.”