Christian Horner doubts whether Sergio Perez can challenge Max Verstappen for the Formula 1 World Championship in 2023, but believes he has "the capability."
Verstappen starts the new season as the reigning double World Champion, having come off one of the most dominant seasons in F1 history in 2022 with 15 wins and 454 points scored - both new records.
Perez finished third, claiming two wins, but was 149 points behind the runaway champion in the second car.
Set for his third season alongside Verstappen, Perez certainly has the ability to challenge the Dutchman in Horner's eyes, but the Red Bull Team Principal doubts that the Mexican will this season.
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"The form that Max has been in means he is the man to beat," Horner explained to Auto Motor und Sport in Germany.
"He's the reigning World Champion and Checo has to strive for that, otherwise, why is he competing?
"But I think the reality is that in all probability, Max over the season is likely to be the [better] candidate for the World Championship.
"But Checo has the capability to be right there, we need both drivers performing at the best of their ability for the Constructors' Championship.
"Checo knows exactly what is expected from him, and being Max's teammate is a pretty daunting prospect for any driver.
"But he has handled that very well, and was an integral part of us winning the Constructors' Championship [in 2022], and he finished a very close third in the [Drivers'], winning two Grands Prix [in Monaco and Singapore].
"Checo has evolved since he joined the team in 2021."
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