Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step
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Red Bull principal Christian Horner has made a ‘perhaps unfair’ admission about the arrival of Sergio Perez at the team while discussing his early-season form. Perez finished second behind team-mate Max Verstappen at the opening grand prix of the season in Bahrain and Horner will be hoping for a repeat result in Saudi Arabia this weekend
The 33-year-old first entered F1 with Sauber in 2011 and has claimed 27 career podiums from 236 starts. Perez was brought into the second Red Bull driving seat alongside Max Verstappen for the 2021 season as 26-year-old Alex Albon was demoted to reserve driver.
Pierre Gasly was another product of the constructor’s junior driving programme who was tipped for the second driver’s seat alongside Verstappen. Gasly started the 2019 season with Red Bull before moving back to feeder team Toro Rosso after just 12 races as Albon was instead given the seat alongside Verstappen.
Ahead of the second grand prix of the season Red Bull principal Horner has made a ‘perhaps unfair’ admission about leaving both drivers out in the cold. He told Autosport: “The key thing in the appointment of Checo (Perez) was his experience and it had been unfair, perhaps, on the previous two guys to bring them in so soon.
“Checo with that experience, he’s been through some of the hard knocks with his career to that point and I think what he’s brought to us is he’s a very rounded guy, he’s a great team player. He’s got a good outlook on the development of the car and he’s very easy to work with.
“That’s what all the reasons were for taking him in the first place and he’s delivering on that.” Perez played the almost perfect team-mate for world champion Verstappen last season finishing runner-up on seven occasions and helping Red Bull to the constructors title.
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The team-mates did trade words at the Brazilian Grand Prix when Verstappen refused to allow Perez past to help him towards second overall, despite having already won the world championship. Horner added: “It’s tough for him having Max Verstappen as your team-mate, I mean, he is setting the barometer in Formula 1 currently.
“But Checo (Perez) is mature enough to be able to deal with that and handle that. And I think that he is looking to continue to evolve and improve his own performance, so it’s good to see him looking competitive. He won two grands prix last year, he won a grand prix the year before, he was a key part in us and winning the constructors’ world championship.”
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