Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was pleased with Sergio Perez‘s performance in the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, but added that the Mexican needs the summer break to recharge his batteries ahead of the second half of the season.
The 32-year-old managed to cross the line at the Hungaroring in fifth position, a welcome sight for him and Red Bull after he failed to make it out of Q2 in qualifying.
Nevertheless, it capped off what was a underwhelming end to the first half of the season for Perez, who wasn’t able to match the form he showed early in the campaign.
After finishing on the podium at four of the opening seven races, including a famous victory in Monaco, the Mexican managed just two podium finishes from the following six races.
His poor showing in qualifying prompted Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko to ask whether Perez was already in a summer slump after the performance, but Horner defended his driver, while also revealing he was actually responsible for the joke.
“I made a joke, I said: ‘Checo’s gone on holiday already’, and he went and told everybody!,” Horner said to Sky Sports F1.
“Look, look at Checo’s race in the second half [of Hungary].
“I think without that VSC he’d have been challenging for the podium. He was a second and a half quicker in the closing stages than both George [Russell] and Carlos [Sainz], he was coming very, very quickly.
“I think a reset over the summer break, just to understand what’s not quite gone right for him in the last couple of races, [and] he’ll come back stronger from Spa onwards.”
Horner praises Perez attitude
Perez willingly allowed teammate Max Verstappen to go past and attack Charles Leclerc after the second pit-stop in Hungary, which earned him further praise from Horner.
“Checo was fantastic. He was on a different strategy,” Horner said.
“He let Max immediately get onto the back of Charles to make that pass.”
Perez currently sits third in the Drivers’ Standings, five points back of Leclerc and 85 back of leader Verstappen.