MONTREAL — Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sergio Perez on Saturday to forget about fighting for the Formula 1 championship and focus on his driving.
The Mexican is second in the standings but 53 points behind teammate and two-time world champion Max Verstappen after seven of 22 races.
“He has to stop thinking about the championship and just drive,” Horner told Sky Sports television after Perez finished 17th in a wet final practice for the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Verstappen then clinched pole position while Perez qualified 12th – missing out on the top 10 on the grid for the third race in a row.
While Red Bull are dominant and have won every race this season with Verstappen triumphing in five, Perez has failed to reach the podium in his last two – no points in Monaco and fourth in Spain.
In Miami in May, he challenged Verstappen for the championship lead with two wins apiece.
“He’s had a great start to the season, he’s had a few tougher races and I think he just needs to get that mojo back,” Horner said.
“We know what he is capable of, we saw him earlier in the year.
“If he frees up his shoulders a bit, it will come more naturally to him.”
Horner acknowledged after the Spanish Grand Prix that Verstappen, still 25 but chasing a 41st career win this weekend that would put him alongside the late Ayrton Senna in all-time lists, was a tough teammate.
“I think now there’s this separation in the points, it can actually take a bit of the pressure off of him (Perez) and the expectation that he puts on himself,” the Briton said at the time.
Perez told reporters in Montreal Thursday the pressure remained and he put on a subdued figure after Saturday’s performance.
“I really don’t feel well,” he said. “I’m not having a great time. But we came back before and tomorrow is a new opportunity to come back, hopefully, in very strong points.
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