Horner’s verdict on much-needed ‘confidence boost’ for Perez

Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner believes Sergio Perez’s strong drive to third in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix sprint race will give him a “great confidence boost”. 
Horner’s verdict on much-needed ‘confidence boost’ for Perez

Perez, who qualified third behind pole sitter Lando Norris and Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, overcame a poor start to claim third place in Saturday’s sprint race at Interlagos. 

The Mexican lost out to George Russell’s Mercedes off the line and was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton at Turn 4, but fought his way back past both on his way to taking a much-needed result that broke his recent run of torrid form. 

It came a week after Perez suffered a heartbreaking first-lap retirement at his home race in Mexico City, which only further mounted the pressure on him as he looks to retain his Red Bull seat for 2024. 

“For Checo, a really great confidence boost, a really strong drive,” Horner told Sky. 

“Coming back past both Mercedes with some good racing, good pace and good points for him today.”

Horner added: “He’ll take a lot out of that. He’s starting a bit out of position because of the yellow flag [in Friday qualifying] tomorrow, but we know he has great pace.”

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil,
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Perez admitted his “terrible start” made his life tougher and ultimately prevented him from challenging Norris for second place. 

“It was not an easy one, I had a terrible start, ended up losing place to George. And then another place to Lewis into Turn 4,” he explained. 

"From then on, I was fighting. I had to use my tyres a lot. And then I think I paid the price towards the end.

"Overall, it's been a good day. Good points there. But unfortunately, I think without the start we could have been a lot further up.

"The problem I had was that I couldn't manage. I had to push. And we know that this place is very sensitive for that. It ended up costing us.”

The result, coupled with Lewis Hamilton’s slide down to seventh, sees Perez extend his advantage over the seven-time world champion to 24 points in their battle to secure runner-up spot in the drivers’ standings. 

Perez will start ninth, four places behind Hamilton, in Sunday’s main grand prix. 

"Obviously, it's important," he said about increasing the gap. "But it's more important to keep that momentum going now, we had a very good day overall.

"Hopefully tomorrow, which is the main race, we can consolidate with a strong result."

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