Sergio Perez has been backed by Christian Horner after receiving criticism from Red Bull advisor Dr. Helmut Marko.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has defended his driver Sergio Perez after receiving criticism from Helmut Marko who claimed the mexican of going on a ‘summer slump’ in recent races.
Following a string of poor performances, Marko accused Perez of going on a “summer slump” as Formula 1 goes on a summer break after the Hungarian Grand Prix. This was after the Red Bull driver failed to qualify to Q2 in Saturday’s practice at Hungaroring.
However, the Mexican finished fifth in Sunday’s race as his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen took his eighth race victory in 2022 despite starting the race from P10. Horner praised the former Racing Point driver’s performance in Hungary after Red Bull handed the drivers new power unit components.
“I made a joke to Helmut the other day, I said ‘I think Checo’s gone on holiday already’, and he went and told all you guys!” Horner laughed to Sky F1.
But according to Horner, had it not been for the late Virtual Safety Car intervention after Valtteri Bottas’ on-track stoppage, Perez would have been battling for a podium berth.
“Look at Checo’s race in the second half today,” Horner said. “Without that VSC, he would’ve been challenging for the podium in the closing stages of 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 gone quite right for him at the last couple of races [is needed], he’ll come stronger from Spa onwards.”
Horner claims that Red Bull sensed the possibility for the victory when it noticed Ferrari swap Charles Leclerc to the Hard tyre after a challenging day on Saturday.
“The Soft tyre went much further than we thought, at that point we committed to a two-stop and went Soft-Medium-Medium,” Horner said. “I think the key moment for the race for us was obviously as soon as we saw Charles go on to the Hard tyre.”
“As soon as the white-walled tyres came out, we thought ‘we’ve really got a chance now’.”
“Checo was fantastic, he was on a different strategy, he let Max immediately get onto the back of Charles to make that pass.”