Horner Defends Perez's P3 Result Behind Norris After 'Another Very Strong Weekend'

Wednesday, 24 April 2024 at 02:00
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The team principal of Red Bull Racing defended Sergio Perez's performance after the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez crossed the finish line during the fifth round of the 2024 season at Shanghai International Circuit in third place, +5,387 seconds behind Lando Norris on McLaren in P3.
Some fans looked at this result and concluded that the 34-year-old didn't do a good enough job to finish behind the McLaren F1 driver in a slower car.
However, Red Bull Racing's team principal, Christian Horner, said Perez would have finished in P2 had it not been for the unlucky timing of the safety car. Asked whether he was surprised or disappointed by Perez's result, he told Sky Sports:

We went into the race on a reasonably aggressive two-stop [strategy]. The safety car timing probably couldn’t have been worse for us, particularly for Checo [Perez].

"We had to stop again to effectively converge on strategy with a Ferrari and the McLaren to the end of the race, and that dropped Checo on track position behind both Lando [Norris] and Charles [Leclerc] and it took him quite a bit of time to get past Charles, which probably took quite a bit out of his tires."

While the safety car hit Perez at the worst moment, it hit Norris, who was extending his first stint on the medium compound tires, in the best possible moment.
The McLaren driver also had a surprisingly competitive pace, but it looked like he wouldn't be able to finish second if the timing of the safety car didn't play in his favor. Horner added:

"So, by the time he had cleared Charles, his tires probably weren't in the best of shape to hunt down Lando, who had great pace today. But nonetheless, another very strong weekend from Checo to get that double podium."