Horner fires warning at ‘disappointing’ Perez

With two wins in the first four races of the 2023 Formula One season, Sergio Pérez was talking up his hopes of winning the drivers championship. Yet even by then the chinks in the Mexican’s armoury were becoming evident.

At the third race of the year in Melbourne, Perez made a mistake in the first qualifying session which meant he would start the race at the back of the field. Checo made his way through the field and finished the race in fifth the first time a Red Bull driver had not taken the chequered flag in either first or second position this year.



Wheels come off Perez season

An ill timed safety car for Max Verstappen next time out in Azerbaijan named free a free pit stop to his team mate who made the most of the advantage and claiming the top step on the podium.

Since then the wheels have come off Perez’s season.

Despite claiming pole position next time out in Miami, Sergio was beaten to the chequered flag by his team mate who started the race down in ninth place.

In Monaco Checo crashed into the barrier at turn one early on the first session of qualifying and again started the race from the back of the field.



Sergio mistake costly in Canada qualifying

Perez failed to make Q3 again next time out in Spain claiming to have difficulties with the setup of his car and starting in eleventh he cold only make up seven places and finished fourth behind the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

For a third time in succession, Sergio failed to make Q3 yesterday at the Canadian Grand Prix. In chaotic weather, qualifying was both and opportunity for some and one missed for a number of big names.

As Q2 progressed the rain stopped falling and the track dried relatively quickly. Alex Albon was the first to spot it was time for dry tyres and fitted the soft before everyone else.

However, due to the track temperature it was taking time for the tyres to reach their optimal temperature and whilst other drivers switched to slicks, they some had left it too late.

Leclerc “sick and tired” of Ferrari mistakes



Perez misses final chicane

Checo had sufficient time to prepare his soft tyres well, but at the end of his first flying lap he missed the fail chicane and had his lap time deleted.

The rain returned and the moment was gone for Perez who starts the race in P12 immediately behind the Ferrari’s of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

Checo has struggled this year when coming through the field previously and arriving behind a Ferrari, Mercedes or Aston Martin. He will have to hope Leclerc and Sainz make progress themselves and he can ‘tag along’ towards the top five.

Christian Horner appeared to fire a shot across his Mexican drivers’ bow after another poor qualifying performance. 



Horner “disappointed” shot across the bows

Given the speed of the Red Bull car in the hands of Max Verstappen, Horner said he would be “disappointed if we weren’t much further up the order” in the race.

However Checo knows he is no Verstappen when it comes to finding his way through the field and will be under pressure to fulfil his boss’s expectations.

Horner told Sky F1: “Unfortunately for Checo, he just didn’t get that first lap in on the slick tyre when the circuit was in the window, then he came back onto the inter because it was too wet for the slicks, so it was frustrating for him.

“However, unlike Monaco, this is a track that you can overtake at, the forecast is saying it’ll be a dry race, he’s a great racer and he’s got a fast car, so I’d be disappointed if we weren’t much further up the order tomorrow.”

Verstappen admits rivals closed the gap



Perez: “It didn’t work out”

A deflated Perez admitted, “It didn’t work out. I mean, when we went onto the slick, it was just the lap that it started raining.

“I needed a lap to get the tyre in the temperature in the working range, and then it just started raining, then we switched [back] to the intermediate, so it was all a bit half a lap, one lap a bit too late to get that lap in.

“Well, it’s going to be hard to overtake, but we will try everything – we will try everything to come through the field.”

Mercedes HQ blocking Hamilton deal



Perez contract under review

With Daniel Ricciardo waiting in the wings as the Red Bull reserve driver, Perez is under pressure to hit the performance targets his contract will have set out.

Having signed a “two year” deal with Red Bull before last seasons’ Monaco Grand Prix, it could be in reality the contract is a “one plus one.”

This would mean if Perez fails to score a certain percentage of points relative to Verstappen, the team may refuse to take up the option of having him drive for the second year – which would be in 2024.

READ MORE: Wolff slams new Pirelli tyres

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