Christian Horner feels Sergio Perez has the toughest job in Formula 1 as he tries to match Max Verstappen at Red Bull.
In 2023, after a strong start to the year, Perez failed badly as Verstappen won 17 of the final 18 races on his way to 19 wins overall and a record 575 championship points.
Perez could only bank 285 as he finished runner-up for the first time in his career, but his long-term future at Red Bull was called into question following a run of poor performances.
The Mexican's contract expires at the end of 2024, with Horner believing the mental toughness needed to match three-time World Champion Verstappen is tough.
Horner on Perez's season
"I think with the amount of established team-mates [he's had], it is probably the hardest job in the pit-lane," Horner told media including RacingNews365.
"[Max] is operating at such a high level and he is relentless, and so the mental aptitude that you need to be deal with that when every time you see a piece of data, it's like: 'Wow, how did he do that?'
"It takes a certain strength of character to be able to deal with that, and with the form that he's been in for the last three or four years, he's operating at such a high level and it would be tough for any driver.
"With any sportsman, your mental strength always plays a key role.
"I think there was a decisive moment this year, which is probably in Miami, where Checo had an open goal, he'd won two races in Azerbaijan and in Saudi and you could see his confidence was high.
"Max winning that race having been caught out by a red flag in qualifying and starting down the field, I think mentally that was quite a brutal one for Cecco to deal with.
"And then on top of that, came Monaco (where Perez crashed in qualifying) which compounded things."
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