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Horner sets new challenge for Perez after beating Verstappen

Sergio Perez has closed in on Max Verstappen's World Championship lead after taking victory in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but Red Bull boss Christian Horner hopes to see the Mexican conquer another challenge soon.

Christian Horner has set Sergio Perez the challenge of winning on a non-street circuit after his victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Perez and teammate Max Verstappen both looked to be in contention for the win at the Baku City Circuit but it was Perez who claimed his sixth victory in F1, having previously won Saturday's Sprint race at the track. Red Bull boss Horner was impressed by how the team's drivers performed on Sunday. "There [was] very little between probably up to about Lap 28," Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com , after the 51-lap race. "Checo then pulls out a bit of a gap, and then Max starts to close it down over the last five laps, so [it was] a great team performance."

Horner credits Perez for withstanding Verstappen pressure

Perez was able to maintain the lead of the race after a Safety Car period and, while Horner feels that the timing of this benefitted the Mexican, he admits that Perez was still faced with the difficult task of keeping a gap to Verstappen behind. "Yes, he got lucky with the Safety Car," Horner explained. "But he then had to get on and deliver – [if] you've got Max Verstappen behind you, he's not taking it easy. "He was able to build up [a] 3.7 seconds lead at one point. All credit to Checo, [he] drove a great race today."

A new challenge for Perez

Perez's race wins so far in 2023 have occurred at street circuits, with the 33-year-old having taken victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in March. Success at street venues has been a trend throughout Perez's Formula 1 career, so Horner would like to see him extend this to non-street tracks. "He just needs to do it at a normal track now!" Horner laughed. "He's excelled at street circuits. All his victories, I think certainly for us, have been at street tracks. [It's the] second time he's won here. He won in Singapore, he won in Monaco, won in Jeddah. "We just need to get him going on the proper circuits." When asked why Perez performs so well at street circuits, Horner responded: "I don't know, you'd have to ask him. That's why he's the king of the streets!"

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