Horner calls for Perez to bounce back as he heaps praise on Verstappen

Sergio Perez was knocked out in Q1 in Monaco and Canada, also failing to finish both races

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Team principal Christian Horner for Sergio Perez to get back to from for the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix whilst he lauded Max Verstappen’s impressive win in Canada at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday.

Red Bull came to the track expecting to be on the back foot after struggling with kerb issues throughout the previous two rounds of the Formula 1 season but had a welcome surprise as Verstappen proved to be surprisingly competitive.

The Dutchman matched George Russell’s pole position time but missed out as he set it later in the session, before he went on to convert second-place into his 50th race win by beating Lando Norris and Russell in mixed conditions in Montreal.

It was another weekend when Verstappen’s excellent feel for where the grip is, and his unrelenting consistency allowed him to claim the win after some clever Red Bull strategy kept his chances on top of the changing conditions.

“That’s a well-earned victory,” Horner told select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “Just look at the restarts, look at how he was able to really make use of the conditions, so I think he was you know at the top of his game working well with a pit wall.

“I think strategically we made the right calls and made the right adjustments during the race, and we reacted well to what was going on around us, so it was a very rewarding race to win.”

Race winner Max Verstappen celebrates after the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Race winner Max Verstappen celebrates after the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner’s rallying cry for Perez

On the other side of the garage, Hugh Bird experienced another headache throughout the weekend as he attempted to rescue Perez’s drivers’ championship campaign once again, after the Mexican suffered another embarrassing qualifying performance.

Perez was eliminated in Q1 for the second weekend in a row including the Monaco GP, meaning he had to start from the back of the grid whilst his teammate was fighting at the sharper end of the field.

On Sunday, his weekend didn’t get much better. An anonymous performance meant that he failed to gain any points in the wet conditions before he finally got the headlines for the wrong reasons when he spun into the wall at Turn 6 and broke the rear-wing of his car.

Despite the chaos, Horner insists he can put it behind him and bounce back at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain when the Spanish GP takes place from June 21-23 where Red Bull are expected to be back on the pace.

Checo just needs to forget Canada 2024 in Barcelona and bounce back,” Horner said of the Mexican after another disappointing weekend. “We know that he’s very capable of doing that and I’m sure he’ll come back fighting hard in Barcelona.

“We were lucky that Ferrari didn’t score any points. They could have taken a lot of points out of us in the constructors championship, so we need him scoring as he was in the first four races.”

Many fans are wondering just how the gap to Verstappen continues to grow considering Perez is 34 years old and has 266 race starts to his name. At no other stage in his career has he seemed so hapless next to his teammate, proving to be a lot more competitive at McLaren, Sauber and Force India (now Aston Martin).

However, Horner revealed the gap between them isn’t purely a difference of sheer lap-time as he admitted that Verstappen tends to adjust to problematic situations better than his teammate.

 “I think it was a combination of factors,” Horner added on why Perez struggles. “So, we had an issue in qualifying. So, there’s plenty for him and the team to look at to get him back into that window.

“I think he struggles when the car isn’t behaving really, He struggles more to adapt [than Verstappen], and it perhaps takes him longer and not having the running on Friday, you end up on the backfoot.

“So, I think that’s something that we will look at collectively with him to say, ‘Okay let’s come back stronger in Barcelona.’”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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