Despite a strong start to the season, two races ago Christian Horner felt it was too early to talk about Sergio Perez’s future. In the meantime, however, the team can no longer ignore the good performance of the driver from Guadalajara. In Spain, Perez finished second for the third time this season and is currently third in the championship standings, just 25 points behind teammate Max Verstappen.
“He should just keep going,” Horner replied in Monaco when asked what Perez needs to show in order to land a new contract with the team. “He is doing a fantastic job at the moment and we are very happy with him. He has ridden very well so far this year. He had a fantastic pole position at Jeddah and has driven in some great races. And compared to last season, the gap between him and Max has narrowed significantly. He’s also a real team player, in my opinion the best thing in Formula 1 at the moment. If he continues as he has been, the talks should be fairly straightforward.”
Perez was not happy with the team orders during the Spanish Grand Prix and requested a meeting with the team management immediately after the race. According to Horner, that conversation went well. “After seeing that he and Max had a different strategy, Max had a tire advantage and we had to be careful with the rising temperatures, it made sense not to let the drivers fight each other and to secure the points,” said the Briton . “We explained the reasons for our decisions and he totally understood.”
Perez hinted on Friday that Red Bull could have given him a better strategy in Spain. Horner: “It’s maybe referring to a moment earlier in the race when Max had a moment at Turn 4 and they were both behind George Russell. Max quickly bonded with George and Checo. Checo couldn’t pass George for a few laps and Max was faster at that point so we decided to let Max try George on. Unfortunately, his DRS worked some laps and not others. He was always close enough to overtake with relative ease, but there was always a question mark as to whether or not his DRS would work that lap. That was a painful situation. I think Checo would have liked to be let past after a few laps when Max didn’t get past. But of course we didn’t know when Max’s DRS would work. There are so many factors that come into play, but in the end Checo totally got it.”