Christian Horner has praised the form of his two Red Bull drivers following Sergio Perez's victory in Monaco last weekend, but stressed that both must work together to ensure an optimal championship fight.
Perez's win brings him to within 15 points of Verstappen at the top of the Drivers' Championship, and into strong contention for a title challenge. However, the risk is that Perez and Verstappen could start taking points away from each other should a fight emerge – something which could prove costly given Charles Leclerc's form at Ferrari.
With having Perez now re-signed on a new two-year deal with Red Bull, Horner praised Perez for his uptick in form during the 2022 season.
"Checo [Perez] is in the form of his career, he's doing a great job, and it's not a one-off," Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com, after Monaco.
"We saw his pole position in Jeddah, and he's hitting a rich vein of form. So that's fantastic for us."
Aside from mild complaining from Perez after being told to hold station behind Verstappen in the middle of the Spanish Grand Prix, the relationship between the Dutch and Mexican drivers has been harmonious during their season-and-a-bit together – the pair even joked about how they will "still be in love" as the year continues.
Horner: Ferrari are a "massive opponent"
Horner made the point that the drivers are working well together, but
that harmony needs to remain for the benefit of the entire Red Bull
team, given the ongoing strength of the F1-75 – particularly now Carlos Sainz has started to find pace in Ferrari's second car.
"We need both drivers working the way they are together," Horner said.
"Ferrari had the quicker car [in Monaco], certainly in qualifying – whether it was in the race is unknown.
"But they are a massive opponent, and we've got to work collectively to make sure that we get both drivers ahead of them."
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Horner: Red Bull responded brilliantly in Monaco
With Red Bull snatching victory away from Ferrari in Monaco, despite the Scuderia leading 1-2 in the early stages and enjoying track position, Horner was asked about whether his team's operational sharpness from fighting Mercedes hard in 2021 has played a key role in having the edge over Ferrari when it comes to tactics.
"I've always prided ourselves as being an attacking race team," he explained.
"We've always focused on trying to do the basics well, whether that's strategy, whether it's pit-stops – thinking on your feet.
"I think [Monaco] was all about thinking on your feet and reacting to the situation as it happens around you, and I think that the whole team responded brilliantly well and the drivers, of course, had to deliver their part."
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