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Christian Horner

Red Bull sympathise for Perez having Verstappen as teammate

It is never going to be an easy year having Max Verstappen as a teammate, which Team Principal Christian Horner acknowledges.

Perez Verstappen Belgium
To news overview © XPBimages

Even though Sergio Perez is in the same car as Max Verstappen, the disparity between the two has been visible throughout the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Verstappen has extracted the most in the first 12 races, dropping only 22 points and taking 10 wins, eight of which have been consecutive.

The gap between Perez and Verstappen is now 125 points in the Drivers' Championship, something Team Principal Christian Horner believes is down to Verstappen's abilities behind the wheel.

"I think he's just got this this feel for the limits of grip and got such a confidence in himself and his own ability to get there so quickly," he told the ESPN Unlapped Podcast.

"You look at his laps the first time he turned up at a new circuit or his lap times, his first lap of the day will often be two or three seconds quicker than anybody else.

"He has tremendous natural feel and the ability to understand what the car needs from his input to get the most out of it. It's fascinating to see because, he just adapts so quickly to a situation or condition with a car."

Perez shown mental resilience

Verstappen has a history of outclassing his teammates since he joined Red Bull, with Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly both struggling in the past to match his results.

But Horner believes people should not be quick to judge drivers against Verstappen, given they can still put in solid performances without matching him on track.

"Being Max's teammate is never going to be an easy year. I think Checo has actually done very well the last two and a half years to achieve and do what he's done," he explained.

"That takes great mental resilience because not only has he got that data, he's staring down the barrel, he's got you guys [journalists] every weekend giving him grief saying 'Why are you not at your teammate's level?'

"Well, nobody's at his teammate's level. But he's still second in the world championship, 40 points ahead of third place, having one-two's in a couple of Grands Prix and finishing second in at least another four of them.

"He's had a decent season, but anything compared to Max is secondary."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Free Practice 2