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Red Bull "desperately" needs Perez in the mix

NEWS STORY
10/05/2021

As Max Verstappen once again find himself battling the two Mercedes alone, Christian Horner admits that his team "desperately" needs Sergio Perez in the mix.

While on paper Perez finished fifth on Sunday, the reality is that for much of the race he was running sixth, and it was only in the final stages that he was able to overhaul Daniel Ricciardo whose tyres were rapidly fading away.

Ignoring the fact that Charles Leclerc was a further 10s ahead, Perez' race was compromised form the outset after he could only qualify eighth - a situation he blamed partly on a (left) "shoulder issue".

"This isn't an easy track to overtake on which made for a tough race," admitted the Mexican. "We had a good first lap and made up some positions but it took me quite a long time to get past Daniel.

"The McLaren was extremely fast on the straights so it was really hard to try a move but we made it work around the outside of Turn 1. I knew what I had to do, I pushed on and managed to make it work but we didn't have much tyre life left afterwards so it was tough.

"I'm getting more confident with the car now," he insisted, "and every time I get to the end of a weekend, I think, ‘I wish the weekend was just starting now'.

"Also every circuit is different so what I learn here will be different to what I need in Monaco, but the main thing is that I am still adapting and hopefully soon we can be 100%."

However, "soon" can't come quickly enough for team boss, Christian Horner, who needs Perez up there with his teammate.

"The two lead guys were so far ahead of the rest of the pack as it were, that Lewis had a free stop as he had in Hungary," explained Horner at race end.

"You know that he's only got to get past his team-mate," he said of Hamilton, "and that was never going to be an issue.

"So that's why we need both cars up there strategically so that option isn't available to Mercedes.

"I think it's coming together for him," he insisted. "He had an off-day (in qualifying) and he was compromised in the race behind Daniel. Obviously then he didn't manage to make the headway at a track where it is so difficult to pass, because we desperately need him to be in that gap so that the Mercedes' don't have the strategic options that they had.

"I'm convinced that that will come for Checo, as he finds more confidence, and more time in the car."

Despite losing to the Black Arrows, Horner takes comfort from the fact that the RBR16B gave a good account of itself on a circuit Mercedes has dominated in recent years.

"I think the Mercedes - we've seen it since Bahrain - I think that their race pace has been better than ours at each race that we've seen so far," he said, "and I think that their degradation, you know, has been better than ours.

"So we knew these last two circuits would play to their strengths - and they done that - but we're an awful lot closer than we have been."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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1. Posted by kenji, 11/05/2021 0:10

"Like some others I've never viewed Perez as a top runner..mid field easily achieved in a decent car. Listening to his comments he is having the same difficulties as most other 'changees'. Each and every driver has his own stamp of technique and whilst to the outsider they all look the same they are not at all. Given that Red Bull have built a car specifically to suit Verstappen's style is it any wonder that their new driver is struggling. Marko once said, when questioned about this problem relative to Mark Webber, that the car [ and the team ] was built to suit Vettel and that Webber would just have to change his style in order to drive it. Old habits die hard."

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2. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 10/05/2021 17:30

"@Melonfarmer - perhaps you're right. Only time will tell. That said, Red Bull does have Tsunoda as an option too.

If I were George Russell's dad (almost old enough for that!) I'd counsel him to avoid Red Bull unless, like Perez, it was his final option to remain in F1. Or unless, like Verstappen (or Vettle back in 2009), he's better than the incumbent teammate."

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3. Posted by Melonfarmer, 10/05/2021 16:35

"@ChickenFarmerF1: I think Perez will see out the year; I don't see RB drafting in Gasly or Albon half way through the year. There's no outside available who can do a better job. Russell, say, has his eye on MB for 2022 so won't jump unless MB is closed off to him.

Perez may get closer now that he has 4 races complete. They signed him to be on it straight away, but it's taken Ricciardo until now to get on it so maybe that's the reality of changing team in 2021. Sainz will be closer to Leclerc shortly too, hopefully."

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4. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 10/05/2021 16:23

"Over/under breakpoint on Perez being dropped? I'll go with Belgium, and take the under. Red Bull isn't renowned for their patience with a driver not meeting expectations, regardless of reasons.

If that is the case I'd feel bad for Perez on some level, same as for any Red Bull driver that's not the golden child. But I've never regarded him as a top driver anyway. A very good driver, likely near top of the midfield class, but not on the same level as Hamilton or Verstappen. In fairness, nobody else on the grid really is. George Russell might come close, but doesn't have the equipment to demonstrate if Bahrain last year was a true indicator or an anomaly."

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