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Horner Perez's Errors Costly for Red Bull

Horner: Red Bull ‘Cannot Afford’ Perez’s Mistakes

06/07/2024

Amid challenges, Verstappen secures a respectable finish while Horner criticises Perez’s costly mistakes.

Max Verstappen secured the fourth-fastest time in the qualifying session for the British Grand Prix, positioning the Red Bull driver on the second row for the race. An off-track excursion in Q1 hampered his progress, though it could have had more severe repercussions.

“It was simply the wrong place at the wrong time. We started a bit late, but we didn’t expect it to rain in Q1,” Verstappen explains. “I was coming out of turn 7 when it began raining on my visor. Everyone else had already passed through that brief shower, as those behind me had to slow down too.”

“At Copse, I knew that those ahead of me were setting a fast lap. You think the rain might hit, and you have to do a lap or you’re out in Q1. So, I tried to maintain some speed. I eased off a bit, but it wasn’t enough because it was so slippery.”

He describes how he avoided a major crash and managed the remainder of his session: “Then, you don’t want to crash. I had to cross some dirt and the wet part off the racing line, I skidded into the gravel, trying not to hit the wall. But I destroyed the floor.”

“From there, it was about trying to survive. The team did an excellent job trying to minimise the losses, as you could see they were working hard to repair and optimise every detail, since the floor was badly damaged. After Q1, I was down 100 points of downforce, almost a second. Then they managed to bring it back to something more reasonable with the repairs.”

Given the circumstances, he remains positive about his grid position: “Initially, I was glad to make it into Q3, as the car was quite off the pace. And ultimately, I’m quite happy with fourth.”

Pérez admits it “hurts” to falter in Q1

Horner Perez's Errors Costly for Red Bull

Sergio Pérez failed to progress beyond Q1 after an off-track excursion into the gravel. The Mexican driver, amid swirling rumours of a potential replacement before the season ends, expressed his disappointment at spoiling the qualifying session for his team.

“Yes, it’s very frustrating; I let my entire team down. I was one of the first to switch to wet tyres, and I wasn’t sure what temperature they should be. Approaching turn 9, downshifting, the rear axle locked and took me off. It was soaking wet, and I tried to keep it in line, but I lost the car,” Pérez stated.

“I was trying to get out, but once you’re in the gravel, it’s hard to do anything. It’s frustrating and painful to let the team down, especially since we had a very good weekend and couldn’t show our true pace. It’s disappointing.”

When asked if the pressure from his recent poor form could have contributed to the error, he denied it: “No, that has nothing to do with it; I am fully focused on my job. I know where I can be; yesterday we had a very positive day, things were moving in the right direction.”

“I know where I can be; yesterday was very positive, things were heading in the right direction, so yes, head down and it’s only a matter of time before I turn things around.”

Pérez also confirmed that he had not yet spoken to Helmut Marko or Christian Horner, following the rumours about his position: “I want to get back to form as soon as possible, and I am fully focused on that.”

Mounting Pressure on Pérez

Christian Horner did not mince words as the situation at Red Bull becomes increasingly challenging. When asked about Verstappen, he briefly mentioned the Dutchman’s error and the commendable work of the mechanics.

“Unfortunately, the off-track excursion caused some damage underneath the car. The mechanics managed some makeshift repairs between the session parts. We will have to settle for fourth place,” Horner stated.

In discussing Pérez’s performance, the Red Bull director acknowledged that he is, for now, “running a one-car team.” However, the Briton hopes to see a resurgence from his driver in the race.

“Nobody is more disappointed than Checo about his exit. It’s something we can ill afford. He has a big race ahead of him tomorrow, and it’s obviously frustrating, but there’s not much more to say.”

Red Bull will have Liam Lawson drive the Red Bull RB20 at Silverstone on Tuesday for a 200-kilometre promotional shoot. Later in the month, he is also expected to spend time behind the wheel of the 2022 RB18 at an Italian circuit, likely Imola.

Asked about whether Red Bull is preparing to replace Pérez, Horner deflected: “Liam’s test has been long scheduled and was planned several weeks ago. It is thus part of our racing plan. Our priority is to get Checo back on form. Checo is our driver, we want to continue with him, and we need to understand how he can bounce back, hoping for a turnaround tomorrow.”

Horner Perez's Errors Costly for Red Bull

Horner: Perez’s Errors Costly for Red Bull. Horner: Perez’s Errors Costly for Red Bull

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