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Horner explains key factor behind Perez clinching maiden pole

Sergio Perez was forced to play wingman to Max Verstappen during the 2021 season, but could the tables be about to turn after his breakthrough pole position in Saudi Arabia?

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has teased that Sergio Perez could put up more of a fight against Max Verstappen this season now that he is armed with a car that is "more suited to his style". Perez claimed an unexpected pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with a blistering-hot lap in the final moments of Saturday's qualifying session. In doing so, the 32-year-old ended a wait of 219 Grands Prix for a maiden pole and denied Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc the chance to make it two-in-two. He will also become the first-ever Mexican driver to start an F1 race from the very front of the pack on Sunday.

Horner: Red Bull's RB18 is not quite as quirky

During the 2021 campaign, Perez only finished ahead of Verstappen in races that saw the Dutchman forced to retire. But this season, he has been presented with a car that is more suited to his driving style, according to Horner. "Whatever he had for lunch, breakfast and dinner last night, we're going to give him the same tomorrow," joked Horner, speaking to Sky Sports F1 . "It was a phenomenal performance from him and I'm just so, so happy for him. He's worked incredibly hard. "I think the car this year is more suited to his style; it's not quite as quirky as last year's car. [But] he's done a great job there."

A confidence-boosting result for Perez

Horner also expects Perez to take plenty of confidence from his first-ever pole, having traditionally delivered his standout performances on race days. "Well, Saturdays, I think, by his own admission, have never been the strongest part of his armoury," added Horner. "He's always come alive on race day, so to deliver that kind of performance, at this circuit, that's great for him. "It will do his confidence a world of good and we just need to convert that into a great result tomorrow."

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