After a disappointing qualifying, Perez was unable to factor in the fight for the podium at the Spanish Grand Prix as he recovered to fifth place, while teammate Max Verstappen battled Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes for the win. 

Verstappen was able to lead much of the race after muscling his way past Hamilton into Turn 1 but was left vulnerable to a two-pronged attack from Mercedes with Bottas running close behind Hamilton in third. 

That enabled Mercedes to pull off a bold strategic gamble that ultimately proved decisive in Hamilton’s charge to victory and left Verstappen having to settle for second place. 

Horner admitted after the Barcelona race that Red Bull is relying on Perez to apply more pressure to Mercedes so it can avoid losing out strategically to the reigning world champions. 

“I think it's coming together for him,” Horner said on Sunday. 

“He had an off day [on Saturday] and he was compromised in the race behind Daniel [Ricciardo].

“Obviously then he didn't manage to make headway at a track that’s so difficult to pass [at]. 

“Of course we desperately need him to be in that gap, so that Mercedes don't have the strategic options that they had today. 

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

Perez conceded that he is still struggling to get up to speed in the RB16B and is left ending every weekend wishing it had only just started due to limited track time. 

“It’s important to keep making those steps and put the whole weekend together,” the Mexican explained. “It just takes me a bit too long to get up to speed when we go to a new circuit.

“You see that things are coming, but not together. But I think once we are able to put them together we have the pace to be able to go pretty quick.”

“I’m getting more confident with the car. Every time I get to the end of the weekend, I wish the weekend just start now because with how limited track time is it is very hard to get up to speed.”