It is not news to anyone that a move to a team like Red Bull comes with immense pressure, but, it seems Mexican driver Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez has managed to stun his team boss, Christian Horner, who said that Sergio Perez is ahead of where they expected him to be at this stage.
The Mexican, who was added to the team this season to replace a struggling Alex Albon, made no secret of the fact that he’d been struggling to adjust to the RB16B a challenge in the early races of the year. But, after finishing at the top in FP2 in Baku on Friday, Perez said that “I finally understand how to drive the car.”
With two previous podiums in Baku, Horner said the team were aware that Perez was something of a track specialist, but even so, they had been surprised at his performance. “We knew he was good around here but we didn’t know he was that good,” said the team boss. “He’s been quick all weekend. He’s been bang on the pace and the only mistake he made was in Q3 run one.
“His race pace was phenomenal. Had he not been longer [on his marks] in the first stop, he would have been right on top of Max with the overcut, such was his pace in clean air. Phenomenal for him.”
Christian was also impressed as to how the 31-year-old was able to keep Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at bay after beating the Briton in the pit sequence.
“The way he was defending from Lewis and controlling that was a class act. To see him get that victory will be great for his confidence. It puts him up to third in the drivers’ championship now. He’s ahead of expectations.”
Horner was quick to praise this result saying that “It’s great to have both cars up there obviously, I think it’s an added string to our bow on a day that you lose your lead car that Checo’s right there to deliver the win. That’s exactly what we’ve been looking for”
“I’m delighted for him and pleased for the team with all the amount of effort that’s been going on behind the scenes. For all our partners as well. I think it’s everybody doing their bit and Checo being part of that.”
“I’m really pleased with the job that Sergio is doing,” said Horner when asked about the chances of keeping the Mexican for 2022. “We’re only on race six out of 23, we’ve got plenty of time. He’s enjoying being in the team, he’s doing a great job and he just needs to keep doing what he’s doing.”