Christian Horner lays down fresh Sergio Perez target despite ‘frustrating’ form

Sergio Perez has been urged to push on and deliver Red Bull’s first ever one-two finish in the Drivers’ Championship by team principal Christian Horner. With six races remaining, Checo holds a 33-point cushion over third-placed Lewis Hamilton.

2023 started off as a promising campaign for Checo. In the RB19, he was provided with one of the most dominant cars in F1 history, and two wins in the opening four races of the season placed his name into the spotlight as a title fight was set up at Red Bull.

However, things didn’t pan out well for Perez after his second win of the season in Baku. Team-mate Max Verstappen found his groove in Miami, scything through the field to kickstart a record-breaking ten-race winning streak that lasted until Carlos Sainz’s victory on the streets of Singapore in September. 

Speaking to Sky Sports about his hopes for the remainder of Checo’s season, Horner said: “He’s got at least a one race weekend sort of [points] ‘buffer’ to Lewis and greater than that to Fernando [Alonso] behind him.

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“It’s something that we’ve never achieved; we’ve never finished first and second with any of our drivers in the world championship so it would be a big thing for us to achieve. He came close last year, it would be his best-ever result, and he’s got the best car that he’s ever had to be able to try and achieve that result.

“Japan was frustrating and difficult for him, but he’ll bounce back. I’m sure there’s enough races with the six grands prix remaining for him still to achieve some great results between now and the end of the season.”

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Checo’s current advantage over Hamilton stands at 33 points, while the 33-year-old has a further 16-point gap to Fernando Alonso, who is suffering heavily as Aston Martin struggle to keep pace with McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari in the development race.

With such a substantial gap to his main rival in third place and the most impressive machinery in the field underneath him, securing second place in the championship shouldn’t be a difficult task for Checo.

However, if he replicates his performance at the Japanese Grand Prix in the coming rounds then his advantage over the seven-time world champion will quickly dissolve.

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