Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Sergio Perez has the same chance to win the drivers’ championship as Max Verstappen.
Perez was asked to move over for Verstappen twice in the Spanish Grand Prix and also told not to attack his teammate at a time when he was quicker due to strategy, costing him a shot at victory. In Monaco, however, Perez went from third on the grid to win ahead of Verstappen in third place, and Horner says both drivers have the same opportunity to win the title.
“Of course the constructors’ [championship] is enormously important,” he said. “But you know, whether it’s Max or Checo, they’re both Red Bull drivers, and they’ve both got the same chance. It’s a long, long season, and it will have its ebbs and flows, but it’s great to have both drivers right at the sharp end.”
The win in Monaco came just before Perez was confirmed at Red Bull for another two seasons, and Horner believes the Mexican is driving the best he’s ever seen.
“Checo is in the form of his career, he’s doing a great job. And it’s not a one off. We saw his pole position in Jeddah, and he’s really hitting a rich vein of form. So that’s fantastic for us.
“But we need both drivers working the way they are together, because Ferrari had the quicker car, certainly in qualifying whether it was in the races is unknown, but they are massive opponent and we got to work collectively to make sure that we get both drivers ahead of them.”
While Red Bull took advantage of Ferrari’s strategic mistakes in Monaco, Horner doesn’t believe the ability to make the right calls stems from recent championship battles but more an overall team attitude.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on us being an attacking race team. And we’ve always focused on trying to do the basics well, whether it’s strategy, whether it’s pitstops, thinking on your feet, and I think [Monaco] was all about thinking on your feet and reacting to the situation as it happens around you. And I think that the whole team responded brilliantly well, and the drivers of course had to deliver their part.”