Horner hits back at Perez criticism after disappointing Canadian GP

Red Bull's Sergio Perez finished sixth in the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix.

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner has given a public show of support to Sergio Perez after his driver suffered a third successive race off the podium as Max Verstappen stormed to a convincing 2023 Canadian Grand Prix victory.

Perez failed reach Q3 for the third weekend on the bounce in Canada and then struggled against the Ferraris, finishing sixth and almost a minute behind Verstappen.

That comes after Perez finished sixth in Monaco and fourth at the Spanish GP, and Horner was asked whether he’s concerned about Perez‘s form.

“He just needs a good weekend to lift his confidence,” Horner told the media. “I think he’s had three difficult weekends and three difficult Saturdays that then puts you on the back foot on a Sunday.

“We’ve seen what Checo‘s capable of only a month or two ago and I think, he just needs to have a strong weekend to find that confidence and then I’ve got no doubt he’ll be back.”

Will Perez see out his Red Bull contract?

Christian Horner speaks to Sergio Perez | Dan Mullan / Red Bull Content Pool

Perez endured a torrid time in Canada, starting with his elimination in Q2 when he put in a slow banker and then waited too long to switch to slick tyres – a fate that almost did for Lewis Hamilton too.

In the race, Perez had a fantastic opening battle with Carlos Sainz and briefly got ahead of the Spaniard, but after Sainz retook the position he was unable to make headway on either Ferrari for the rest of the race.

Even with Red Bull‘s dominant DRS, he stayed behind Sainz and after emerging behind both Ferraris in the race, slipped back on the timesheets and finished sixth.

Verstappen has a history of churning out teammates – Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly were both battered by the Dutchman in short stints as his teammate, while even Daniel Ricciardo couldn’t keep pace in the end.

Indeed, Albon was the subject of similar comments from Horner in 2020, that he just needed a clean weekend to hook it all up and show what he could do.

Perez is contracted at Red Bull until the end of 2024 and while they’re the dominant car on the grid, his lack of competitiveness compared to Verstappen doesn’t matter.

And when Horner was asked whether he expected Perez to see out that contract, he did give another boost to his driver.

“He’s second in the world championship at the moment,” Horner added. “He’s the only other driver to have won races other Max this year.

“So yeah, we need to support him through this period and I’m sure he’ll find his form again soon.”

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