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Christian Horner

Horner delivers Perez verdict as contract expiration looms

Christian Horner has praised the current driving of Sergio Perez who is out of contract at the end of 2024.

Perez Horner China sprint
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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has praised Sergio Perez "different approach" and for responding well to pressure, rather than wilting.

Perez is driving for his future currently as he is out of contract at the conclusion of this season, although as things stand, he has every chance of being retained by Red Bull.

The Mexican driver finished third in Saturday's sprint race and then qualified second for the Chinese Grand Prix, alongside Max Verstappen who claimed Red Bull's 100th pole position.

He has entered the 2024 campaign "relaxed" and is focusing on himself rather than Verstappen, who remains comfortably quicker.

"You guys have a tendency to write him off but he's doing a great job, I think that he's come into the season with a new frame of mind and he's relaxed," explained Horner to Sky Sports F1.

"He's driving the car really well and he's not focusing on his team-mate, it's a different approach. And I think in the first five races, we've seen a really strong performance from him.

"So he's driving well, his confidence is growing and hopefully he can convert that into another good result tomorrow."

Perez 'responds to pressure'

Perez is doing everything a number two needs to do at Red Bull to warrant potentially being retained, with Horner recognising that the 34-year-old is working extremely well with his side of the garage.

The Red Bull boss hails Perez as a crucial part of the Milton Keynes-based outfit and praised his ability to perform when under increasing pressure.

"Look, he's an important part of the team, it's about working collectively," said Horner. "And I think he's got a great engineering support around him and the team are doing a good job.

"He feels comfortable in that team, he knows he's out of contract at the end of the season so he's striving for his future.

"He responds to pressure in the best possible way and I think you see that with certain drivers respond to pressure others sometimes wilt."

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