Perez 'Picked Up Bit Of Damage' In Subpar Australian Grand Prix Showing Says Horner

Sunday, 24 March 2024 at 14:40
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Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner defended Sergio Perez's performance after the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez was originally supposed to start the race at Albert Park Circuit from the second row, right behind his teammate, but after he received a three-place grid penalty, he was moved to P6.
During the qualifying session, the Mexican driver impeded Nico Hulkenberg on a flying lap. Because of the incident, Hulk didn't make it out of Q1, so stewards found it appropriate to award Checo a three-position grid penalty "consistent" with their previous decisions.
Starting from meant that Perez had to work his way up the grid, but he wasn't really successful at that as he seemingly got stuck once he was in P5.
The 34-year-old was in P5 basically from half of the race- lap 27 and made no further progress until he crossed the finish line in the end.
It seemed like a below-average performance from the Mexican driver in the car that car had dominated the first two races of the season. However, Christian Horner revealed to Sky Sports after the end of the race that he suffered damage, which slowed him down significantly.

"He's probably not aware of it, but he picked up a bit of damage as soon as he got past Fernando. He lost a significant amount of downforce from the floor of the car."

"Then as soon as you get that then your tyre deg just gets worse and it was not good at the end of the stint. It’s been an unusual treat for our car so we need to understand that."

Red Bull lost some ground in the Championship after the third race of the season in Melbourne, and it currently leads Ferrari (which scored a one-two) by only four points.