Saudi Arabia GP | Horner hails “phenomenal” Pérez: “I think that was his best-ever win”

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Sergio Pérez produced a masterful performance in Saudi Arabia on Sunday night as he took a superb victory over teammate Max Verstappen.

It wasn’t the ideal start for the Mexican as he lost out to Fernando Alonso at the start. However, he quickly made amends by passing the Spaniard into turn 1 at the beginning of lap four.

A Safety Car to retrieve Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin could have put the win in jeopardy. Teammate Verstappen was P4 on the start, and he quite quickly moved up to 2nd.

But after building a 5-second lead before the Dutchman moved into P2, Checo showed tremendously strong race pace to take a commanding win.

Speaking post-race, Horner believes Pérez’s win is the best of his five to date so far.

“Other than the driveshaft issue yesterday, it’s been a phenomenal weekend to get a one-two and maximum points,” stated the Red Bull team principal.

“Checo, I think that was his best-ever win today. I really do. The way, particularly after the safety car, you know, he built a five-second lead.

“And then obviously both drivers were going at it as hard as they could. And, you know, it was exciting to see that fight unfolding between the two of them until we get a radio message from Max saying, I can hear something really strange. And at that point, your heart sort of sinks.

“But having checked all the data, everything looked fine. And, you know, they were then free to push again. And I think they did a phenomenal job.”

Pérez’s best performances throughout his career have tended to come on street tracks. His win in Jeddah on Sunday was the fourth time in F1 on such a circuit.

“He’s always excelled at street circuits. You only got to think back to Singapore last year, which was again another great victory for him. Azerbaijan, Monaco,” said Horner when asked why Checo is so good around these tight venues.

“You know, he seems to excel at these at these kind of venues. So, you know, great for him, converting that pole into a victory.”

Verstappen taking the fastest lap on the final tour of the race leaves the Dutchman a point clear of Pérez following the first two races of 2023 in the Middle East.

Red Bull lead the Constructors’ Championship by 49 points from Aston Martin and Mercedes already.

Horner is delighted with the start, but is wary a long year is still ahead of them.

“Both the drivers first and second in the championship. Still only the second race, still a huge distance to go. But, you know, a great start for us.”

Photos: Red Bull Content Pool