Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, according to Christian Horner, are “up there” with one of Red Bull’s best combinations ever.
Red Bull tried to fit Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon into the Daniel Ricciardo-sized hole created by the Australian’s decision to leave the team at the end of the 2018 season for a new adventure.
The hugely experienced Perez, though, has been able to hold down the seat for more than one full season, having signed a new contract extension through the end of the 2022 season.
While Perez’s first season with Red Bull has not been without flaws, with qualifying in particular struggle, he continues to demonstrate that he is capable of making significant contributions when both World Championship titles are on the line, as evidenced most recently by his outstanding defense against an advancing Lewis Hamilton at the Turkish Grand Prix.
When asked where the Verstappen/Perez combination stands in contrast to other Red Bull pairings over the years, Horner believes it belongs towards the top.
“It’s up there,” Horner said.
“There was always a good dynamic with Daniel [Ricciardo], Alex [Albon] last year there was never any issues.
“But Sergio knows what the objectives are for these remaining races, and one of those key objectives is having him as close to the front as we can possibly get him.”
Asked to look at which tracks favour Mercedes or Red Bull more at the remaining six races, Horner replied: “50/50, I think there are some circuits we have run well at, the South American races have been good for us, there are a couple of tracks we have never been to so who knows.
When asked whether the remaining six races benefit Mercedes or Red Bull more, Horner replied: “50/50, I think there are some circuits we have run well at, the South American races have been good for us, there are a couple of tracks we have never been to so who knows.
“So it’s going to ebb and flow.”
Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber was also asked for his thoughts on the remaining 6 races, and, like his old boss, believes there will be more “twists and turns” coming.
“I think at Austin, the Merc will be strong there. Lewis has also got a great form card there personally, at that venue,” Webber said.
“But then you go the altitudes of Mexico and Brazil, Red Bull have had tremendous results there in the past.
“So, there’s nothing in the points. Six is it now? Nothing. It’s been an extraordinary championship. Here we are trying to dissect how and why it’s going to close out – I think you’d be a brave man or woman to try and predict.
“Is someone going to dominate the back end of this season? I think it’s just not going to happen. I think we’re going to have some twists and turns, we’re seeing the team-mates now play some roles.
“Are their horns going to get even bigger? Who knows, in terms of them stepping up in some wacky strategies.”
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