Perez had the advantage of starting from the front of the field after Max Verstappen suffered mechanical woes in qualifying but he still drove the wheels of his Red Bull to keep the Dutchman at arm’s length.
Red Bull team principal Horner could not praise Perez enough for his performance at the fastest street circuit in the world in which he claimed that both his drivers were indeed going as fast as they could.
“The team, all credit to them, have built an incredible car,” Horner said to Sky Sports. “What we saw today was two drivers pushing each other.
“Max we saw come from 15th and by half distance, he was already fourth and for Checo, I think that was probably his best-ever race. Managing the pace, the restart and those guys behind we were going absolutely flat out.”
After a faultless weekend in Bahrain, Red Bull finally showed that they might have a chink in their armour although not with the speed of their car when it’s working. Verstappen’s problems on Saturday threatened to reoccur late in the race but the issue quickly went away for the Dutchman.
“We don’t actually know if it was a driveshaft,” Horner continued. “He got a noise in the car and immediately reported it to us.
“We checked all the data and did what we could and couldn’t see anything. Something like that is either going to be catastrophic or you’re free to go.”
Fernando Alonso had crossed the line in third but he served his five-second penalty incorrectly (under the safety car) and therefore was given a 10-second penalty which promoted George Russell onto the podium.