Red Bull respond to claim they won’t allow Perez to challenge Verstappen for the championship

Sergio Perez won last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix for Red Bull.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that Sergio Perez can be a title contender after his victory at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend.

Perez grabbed pole position in Jeddah in the second round of the season, but was cruelly denied victory by an ill-timed Safety Car when Nicholas Latifi crashed, and he lost podiums in Bahrain and Miami due to reliability issues.

The Mexican looked on for victory in Barcelona in the latter stages, but wad denied the team asked him to move out of the way for Max Verstappen to take his fourth win of the year.

READ: Aston Martin will sign Schumacher because ‘he’s not too fast for Lance Stroll’

Perez described the decision as “very unfair,” and the fire in his belly was exemplified in Monaco when he out-qualified the Dutchman for the second time this year, before going on to beat Carlos Sainz to victory.

Since then, he has been rewarded with a new contract that keeps him at the team until at least the end of 2024, and Horner is delighted that he has two very strong drivers in the fight against Ferrari.

“Checo is in the form of his career, he is doing a great job, and it is not a one-off,” explained the Briton.

“We saw his pole position in Jeddah and he is really hitting a rich vein of form. That is fantastic for us.

“But we need both drivers working the way they are together because Ferrari had the quicker car [in Monaco], certainly in qualifying. Whether it was in the race is unknown. 

Article continues below

“They are a massive opponent and we have to work collectively to make sure we get both drivers ahead of them.”

Perez scored two podiums in GP2 in 2009 with Horner’s Arden International team, and took one of his five race wins in 2010 at Monaco.

The Mexican climbed into the podium in the Principality in 2016, and has also been on the podium three times in Baku, winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last season in his debut year with Red Bull.

READ: Hamilton unsure of Mercedes development path

As a result, the 28-year-old expects his driver’s purple patch to continue next weekend in the Land of Fire.

“He has always enjoyed Monaco,” explained Horner.

“I remember when he drove for me in Formula 2 here. He has always been very strong around this circuit and the next one in Azerbaijan. 

“We discussed things immediately following the race in Barcelona and there was absolutely zero issue. 

“He understood clearly what the picture was and I think he is in a great space at the moment. 

“His confidence is high, he is driving very well and the time difference between him and Max is much, much closer.”

Perez’s win in Monte Carlo puts him 15 points behind leader Verstappen in third in the Drivers’ Championship.