The Red Bull team boss sees Max on a different “level” as Horner openly admits that he does not believe Pérez has a chance against Verstappen.
Max Verstappen clearly won the team-mate duel at Red Bull on his way to his second Formula 1 championship in a row. The Dutchman added a total of 454 points to his tally with 15 race wins. Both are new Formula 1 records.
In terms of points, Sergio Pérez also had by far his best Formula 1 season with 305 points, but the gap of 149 points to Verstappen is quite significant. Especially frustrating: this meant that the Mexican missed out on second place by three points against Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.
In the fight for second place in the WRC, the Brazil weekend was particularly in focus, as Verstappen ignored a Red Bull team order, which cost Pérez two points. In the end, however, Red Bull will be pretty happy that they didn’t make the difference.
Leclerc was more unlucky than Pérez
“You have to look at the season as a whole,” says Red Bull team boss Christian Horner when asked about the World Championship situation surrounding Pérez. “And I think both Checo and Charles will regret missed opportunities, and for Charles it was a few more than for Checo.”
“You have to look at performance over a year, not a single race, and Checo had the best year he’s ever had in Formula One. He won the Monaco Grand Prix and his drive in Singapore was outstanding,” praised Horner.
“I think that was the best Grand Prix I have ever seen from him and I think he will take a lot of positives from that. It’s the first time he’s finished in the top three in this championship and I think he’ll take a lot of lessons from this year as well.”
Verstappen’s performance hard to top
At the same time, however, Horner dodges the question of whether Pérez will be a serious competitor for team-mate Verstappen in the future: “I think Max is driving at a level where I’m not sure anyone would be able to replicate what he’s done this year with the way he’s driving at the moment.”
The Dutchman has set a new record with 15 Grand Prix wins. Pérez, on the other hand, came away with just two victories, though his wins in Monaco and Singapore may not have been by his own efforts or without controversy either.
While there are a number of theories surrounding Pérez’s crash in qualifying in Monaco, which put him one place ahead of Verstappen on the grid, Max Verstappen would actually have been the predestined winner in Singapore as well.
The Dutchman was on course for a fabulous lap in Q3, but because there was too little fuel on board, he had to abort the lap and could only start the race from P7.