Sergio Perez needs to replicate his form on street circuits at permanent venues, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said following his driver’s win yesterday.
Since joining Red Bull in 2021, all Perez’s wins have come on ‘street’ circuits, including the Jeddah track which is laid out on purpose-built roads. His only victory on a permanent racing circuit came in 2020 at the Bahrain International Circuit, when he was driving for Racing Point.
“Checo is definitely living up to his nickname of King of the Streets or whatever his latest docuseries is going to be called,” joked Horner after yesterday’s race. “An incredible weekend by him.”
Perez won Saturday’s sprint race in Baku before leading home team mate Max Verstappen in the main event on Sunday.
“Winning the sprint race yesterday, obviously he got a little bit lucky with the timing of the Safety Car [in the grand prix],” said Horner. “But having got the lead he built close to a four-second lead at one point and controlled the race.
“So he used his opportunity, converted it into a great win. They were pushing each other hard, they were comparing times that they touched the wall the under the podium there. But we let them push all the way through, that was always the plan going into the race.”
With his second grand prix win of the season, Perez now lies six points behind championship leader Verstappen. Of the 19 races remaining, only four will take place on street tracks.
Perez therefore needs to show he can win on permanent courses in order to challenge for the championship, said Horner.
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“He just needs to do it on a normal track. He’s excelled at street circuits – all his victories, certainly for us, have been at street tracks. It’s the second time he’s won here, he won in Singapore, he won in Monaco, won in Jeddah, so just need to get going on the proper circuits.”
Although Perez took the lead through the mid-race Safety Car period, he had closed on Verstappen prior to that and showed he had strong pace afterwards. “As you can see on the race [chart], there’s virtually very little between them,” said Horner. “Probably up to about lap 28, Checo then pulls out a bit of a gap and then Max starts close it down over the last five laps.”
Horner said the pair were allowed to race each other but were reminded of the costly crash which eliminated Verstappen and former Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo during…
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