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Sergio Perez

What Horner told Perez in reassuring message after Saudi GP

Sergio Perez was on course to turn his maiden pole position into a victory in Jeddah, before a badly-timed Safety Car left him back in fourth position and unable to pass Carlos Sainz.

Horner Perez
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To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Christian Horner moved to comfort Sergio Perez following the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix by assuring him that his bad luck will change.

His comforting words came after the Mexican fell from first to fourth during an unfortunately-timed Safety Car period, handing the opportunity to fight Charles Leclerc for the win in Jeddah to his teammate, Max Verstappen.

After claiming the first pole position of his career, Perez was able to build a lead over second-place man Leclerc that at one stage stretched as far as 2.8 seconds.

That had Perez well clear of any DRS threat and had also seen him build a gap of 4.3 seconds to Verstappen, who himself was over three seconds clear of Carlos Sainz's Ferrari.

Desperate not to see those healthy gaps cut short by an undercut from behind, Perez was the first of the front-runners to pit on Lap 15 of 50.

But painfully for the Red Bull driver, Nicholas Latifi's Lap 16 crash brought out the Safety Car, allowing Leclerc, Verstappen and Sainz to pit for fresh tyres and get past him.

Horner tells Perez: It will come right for you

Speaking directly to Perez via the team radio following the Saudi Arabian GP, Horner said: "Checo, I am very, very sorry. That was just pure bad luck today, to get that Safety Car at exactly the wrong time.

"You've been brilliant all weekend, well done. Your luck will change Checo, don't worry. It will come right for you this season, don't worry.

"Your race pace and your quali pace [was] super. Well done."

Perez then joked, given that no champagne is allowed on the podium in Saudi Arabia, missing out on a top-three finish in Jeddah may not have been all that bad.

Responding to his boss, Perez then said: "Yeah man, I know. Let's keep pushing. I am very, very happy for the team after last weekend."

Perez was always going to pit on Lap 15

For those watching the broadcast coverage of the Saudi Arabian GP, it may have looked as though Perez's pit-stop was a reaction by Red Bull to a call from Ferrari to bring in Leclerc.

It appeared that Ferrari had decided Leclerc would pit on Lap 15, so long as Perez stayed out, seemingly giving Red Bull a difficult decision to make, resulting in them pitting the then-leader before any of his rivals.

However, Horner has claimed it was decided pre-race that Perez would pit on this lap, a decision made easier by complaints from the driver that he was losing tyre performance the tour prior.

Speaking to select members of the media, including RacingNews365.com, shortly after sending his message to Perez, Horner said: "Checo had good pace at the beginning of the stint, he was just starting to get some tyre deg[redation].

"We could see Charles coming within the undercut. We decided to [pit] that lap to try and maintain the track position. [It was] a good stop, everything turned around, and then a Safety Car – and that gives the other cars a free stop.

"It was desperately unlucky for Checo. It was so tight with Sainz [at the pit exit] as well."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Can anyone stop the Verstappen/Leclerc show?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour, and Thomas Maher look back over the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix in Jeddah, which was won in dramatic fashion by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

F1 2022 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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