Red Bull boss Christian Horner likes what he is seeing from Sergio Perez come race day, but the qualifying form is yet to come.
Perez throughout his Formula 1 career has generated a reputation for being one of the best at managing tyre wear throughout a race, a skill which regularly served him well in the midfield.
And by in large race days have been decent for the Mexican since joining Red Bull for 2021, Monaco being the latest example as he went from P9 on the grid to a P4 finish.
But it was that latest poor showing in qualifying which meant that there was too much damage to undo in the race. Perez’s team-mate Max Verstappen would romp his way to victory, his second of the season to take over the lead of the Drivers’ Championship.
But Horner said the team must keep working with Perez to ensure that the qualifying performance soon comes to match his Sunday showings.
“I think he’s finding Saturdays harder than Sundays,” said Horner, as quoted by the Formula 1 website.
“His race pace has generally been very strong but Saturdays are still… you know, we need to work with him, to help him to get comfortable.
“That will come, you can see that the majority of drivers with the exception of Carlos [Sainz] that have changed teams this year, it’s taking them a while to get up to speed.
“I think the tyres are more tricky this year which throws in another dynamic but he’s getting there, and a performance like today only helps that.”
The early stages of Perez’s career have then been very much about recovery drives, and at times this has masked the fact that his race pace has often been competitive against Verstappen’s.
“Checo’s driven some great races this year,” Horner continued.
“In Bahrain he was very strong, his race pace in Barcelona was very strong, his race pace in Portimao was very good so there’s no doubt about that, he’s just got to qualify in position and then he’ll be a factor.”