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‘Of course he’s under pressure’ – Horner wants more from Perez

Christian Horner says Sergio Perez is aware that he is under pressure due to a lack of recent results after failing to score again in the British Grand Prix.

Perez failed to escape Q1 on Saturday after spinning off track at Copse in damp conditions, leaving him 19th on the grid. Red Bull opted to take a power unit penalty to limit the damage and start from the pit lane, but a gamble to take intermediate tires early on backfired and he eventually finished 17th, ramping up the pressure after a run of 15 points in six races, and with reserve Liam Lawson set to drive the RB20 during a filming day at Silverstone this week.

“The Liam test, aero run, has been planned for a couple of months now,” Horner said. “Checo, of course he’s under pressure. That’s normal in Formula 1. And when you’re underdelivering, that pressure only mounts. He’s aware of that, he knows that.

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“This weekend, nothing has really gone his way. We took a gamble in the race. He started on the hard tire, he was making decent progress early on in the race. The rain started to arrive, he was P15 or 16 at the time, you roll the dice a little at that point as [Ferrari] did with [Charles] Leclerc.

“He went onto the inter. If the rain had picked up, he’d have looked a hero. It didn’t. So you don’t. And then he had an extra stop and the time loss of being on an inter on a drying track was hemorrhaging a lot of time for him. So obviously a lot to look at from over the weekend.”

Perez has finished no higher than seventh in the last six races, retiring from three of them, and his return of 15 points in that spell compares to 119 for Max Verstappen, and Horner admits it’s a run that cannot be allowed to continue.

“He knows it’s unsustainable to not be scoring points,” said Horner. “We have to be scoring points in that car, and he knows that. He knows his role and his target. Nobody is more eager than Checo to get back and find his form again.

“Of course there’s frustration when both of your cars aren’t performing collectively. It was frustrating to lose Checo in Q1. He had missed P1 because of Isack Hadjar driving, he’d had a decent P2, we felt that he should have been around the top six, and to lose that car in Q1 was very frustrating. That’s where we’re at.”

Horner suggests he will need to take a different approach to managing Perez after giving him a new contract recently that was designed to provide certainty about his future.

“Every driver’s different. Some drivers need an arm around the shoulder, some need a kick up the arse, and sometimes it varies from week-to-week.

“(McLaren) took seven points out of us and it’s something that we’re acutely aware of. To win a constructors’ championship you need both cars scoring.”

Story originally appeared on Racer