Singapore, Oct 3 (IANS) Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has lavished praise on Sergio Perez after the Mexican driver secured his “best victory” in the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday.
However, Horner sympathised with championship leader Max Verstappen, who had an uncharacteristically tough weekend, qualifying eighth and finishing seventh.
“It’s, without doubt, the best drive of his career. In tricky conditions, he converted the start and settled himself into the race. He looked after those intermediate tyres, Safety Cars coming and going. He was just always in control — super cool,” Horner said.
Perez qualified second but jumped pole-sitter Charles Leclerc at the start of the race, with the Mexican driver going on to win by over seven seconds — shrugging off a five-second post-race penalty for dropping too far behind the Safety Car.
“And he just couldn’t shake off Charles, who kept having the benefit of that DRS, and they (Ferrari) were throwing everything at it. One wobble from Charles gave him (Perez) that second break and then he was able to find his stride and a massive, massive result from him, so super proud of him,” he said.
As for Verstappen, who before the weekend said it would be “unrealistic” to secure the championship in Singapore, he qualified eighth after being forced to abort his qualifying lap on Saturday as the team had under-fuelled his car.
Having dealt with his car going into anti-stall at the start, before locking up in the chase of Lando Norris, Verstappen recovered to P7 by passing numerous drivers including Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel late in the Grand Prix.
“Yesterday was the big wound for today,” said Horner, referring to Verstappen’s fuel issue in qualifying. “I mean, it was obviously hugely frustrating, but he’s raced hard, he’s raced his heart out, he’s come through the field twice and those points are vital for both him and the constructors. He gave it everything today – unfortunately, it just wasn’t his weekend,” he said.
Red Bull head to Japan in the lead of the constructors’ championship, with Verstappen needing victory and the fastest lap to be sure of securing the drivers’ championship at Suzuka.