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Christian Horner

Horner offers Perez boost amid strong start

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has provided a significant vote of confidence in Sergio Perez following the six-time race winner's impressive start the 2024 F1 season, pointing to his popularity within the team and his strong showing at Suzuka.

Horner Perez
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Christian Horner has offered glowing praise for Sergio Perez’s performance at the Japanese Grand Prix, highlighting his qualifying pace and his standing within the team.

The Red Bull team principal was quick to shower the Mexican driver with compliments when speaking after his race in Suzuka.

At a circuit that many expected the gap between Perez and Max Verstappen to increase, the 34-year-old narrowly missed out on pole position on Saturday before driving unchallenged to his second place during the grand prix.

In putting his Red Bull on the front row of the grid, Perez ended a streak of failing to do so which stretched back to last season’s Miami Grand Prix, in May - his last pole position.

“I thought Checo [Perez] in particular has had a strong weekend to qualify within a tenth [of a second] of his team-mate here,” Horner told media including RacingNews365.

“Race pace was strong obviously. The disadvantage of having to come back through the traffic, there was a couple of moments where I must admit, I had my eyes shut as he went into 130R.”

The 50-year-old recalled Perez’s overtakes into the high-speed corner in the final sector, joking: “’Do you need to do there, can’t you wait to the straight?’ He didn’t look like he had three kids when he made that move.”

'Popular' Perez's 'seat to lose'

In helping the Milton-Keynes outfit to three one-two finishes from the opening four rounds of the F1 season, the Perez has in part put to rest speculation over his future with Red Bull.

The six-time race winner has played the supporting role to good effect, despite failing to reach the podium in Australia, where the team say he was nursing an issue with his RB20.

“I think his confidence is high,” Horner explained when asked if he’d seen a change in Perez.

“He's very focused on the job in hand, and he's comfortable in the team.

“He knows he's out of contract for next year, it's his seat to lose. He's very popular in the team and he’s started the season in the best possible way.”

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