Max Verstappen seemingly has a new title rival, with Christian Horner reminding Sergio Perez that he has equal opportunities to win at Red Bull.
The Mexican driver, who played a support role to Verstappen's title-winning 2021 season, secured his first win of the campaign at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The triumph has put him just 15 points behind his teammate and very much into the World Championship battle
It comes one week on from a Spanish Grand Prix that saw Perez asked by his team not to fight Verstappen for the race win, a call he branded as "unfair" as he moved aside.
Perez joins title fight; Verstappen still has the lead
Perez's glory on the streets of Monaco has changed the landscape of the title fight, with his gap to Charles Leclerc now at just six points.
That gap has closed dramatically in recent weeks, as Perez has scored three podiums in four races, all while Leclerc has managed only one.
Verstappen remains the man in control, counting a nine-point buffer between himself and his nearest rival – but Perez has now ended Verstappen's winning streak.
"We don't care which of the two wins. The Constructors' Championship is very important. Whether it's Max or Checo [Perez], they both get the same opportunities," Horner has made clear, speaking to media including RacingNews365.com.
"Obviously, it's a long season and it will have its ups and downs. It's great to have both drivers up front."
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Horner admits: Perez is in a great position
Perez's Monaco win was no fluke, with the Mexican driver having been faster than Verstappen in almost every session thoughout the weekend, including during qualifying.
His next goal will be to turn his win into a streak, as the upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix offers a venue he has already proven he can win at.
"Perez enjoys racing [in Monaco] and he has always been strong here, and that also applies to Baku, the next Grand Prix," continued Horner.
"After the race in Barcelona, we talked about [the team orders in Spain] and there was absolutely no problem, he understood the situation.
"Checo is in a great position. He has the confidence and drives very well and the time difference between Max and him is much smaller."
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