Christian Horner has praised Sergio Perez for how he handled various factors on his way to victory at the Singapore Grand Prix, particularly in terms of managing the Safety Car periods.
Perez started the race from P2 on the grid, but made a stronger start than pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and was mostly unchallenged on his drive to the win at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
It was still an eventful race in-between, though, with several Safety Car phases and changing track conditions following earlier rainfall.
Horner was left impressed by Perez's performance in the busy event at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Horner hails Perez's "phenomenal" drive
"I thought he was phenomenal," Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"He beat Charles [at] the start, and then that first stint was really tricky with the Inter[mediates], not trying to take too much out of them, but he was able to eke out a gap, [and] control the Virtual Safety Car.
"Then [with] the Safety Car, [he] had to do it again. And then, obviously, as we progressed towards the actual pit-stop, he pulled out a decent lap [so] that he could afford to pit quite comfortably the lap after Charles.
"Again, I think we got the timing of that right. Then the Safety Car came out, concertinaed it all together."
This is where Horner feels Perez did a particularly good job.
"Of course, as the lead car, you're the reference, so it's always harder in that situation," the team boss said.
"But again, I thought the job he did on the slick tyres was... He kept his head, he kept his cool. There were some big moments for him.
"Charles was giving it everything in the DRS [Drag Reduction System zones]. As soon as Charles made one mistake and dropped out the DRS, that gave Checo the ability to find his rhythm and extend the lead, so a phenomenal drive by him."
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Perez was able to hold onto his win after being investigated by the stewards for a Safety Car infringement, with the Mexican being handed a five-second time penalty after the race that left the result unaffected.
The victory seemed to mark a step forward for Perez in terms of pace, and Horner was quizzed on whether this was a genuine improvement for the 32-year-old or whether the struggles faced by his teammate Max Verstappen helped to flatter his performance.
"I think Checo, all credit to him, he qualified within two hundredths [of a second] of pole, on the front row of the grid, and then he's absolutely controlled that pace throughout the race," Horner explained.
"This was phenomenal, so all credit to Checo. Max obviously had a horrible weekend in many respects. Obviously [qualifying] put him out of position for [the race]. [He] had anti-stall at the start, [which] put him further back into the pack.
"There was a bit of bumping and banging, he was able to avoid getting hit on that first lap. And then he was able to start picking his way through the field.
"He then got unlucky at the Safety Car where Lando [Norris] got a free stop, otherwise he would have been on the back of that top five.
"He got a great run at the restart. Unfortunately, because there was no temperature in the tyre, the car bottomed pretty hard as he pulled out, then he locked up.
"[That caused a] massive flat spot, [so he had to go] back into the pits again [for] a set of Soft tyres, and then [he made] a hugely impressive comeback."
Verstappen ultimately finished in seventh, meaning that his wait to claim the 2022 World Championship goes on.
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