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2JABG10 Monaco. 29th May, 2022. HORNER Christian (gbr), Team Principal of Red Bull Racing, PEREZ Sergio (mex), Red Bull Racing RB18, portrait during the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2022, 7th round of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship, on the Circuit de Monaco, from May 27 to 29, 2022 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco - Photo Antonin Vincent / DPPI

Horner: Perez must forget the title and just drive

2JABG10 Monaco. 29th May, 2022. HORNER Christian (gbr), Team Principal of Red Bull Racing, PEREZ Sergio (mex), Red Bull Racing RB18, portrait during the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2022, 7th round of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship, on the Circuit de Monaco, from May 27 to 29, 2022 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco - Photo Antonin Vincent / DPPI

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sergio Perez to forget about fighting for the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship Title and focus on his driving, after the Mexican was thoroughly trounced in Qualifying by pole winner and teammate Max Verstappen.

The Mexican is second in the F1 standings after seven rounds but a mighty 53 points behind teammate and double F1 world champion Max Verstappen after seven of 22 races.

“He needs to stop thinking about the championship and just drive,” Horner told Sky Sports television after Perez was 17th in a wet final practice for the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Verstappen went on to take pole position while Perez qualified 12th – missing out on the top 10 on the grid for the third race in a row, with the Red Bull RB19 that has not lost a race yet.

During the session, Perez’s former McLaren teammate Jenson Button felt the Mexican’s pain while commentating for Sky F1: “It just hurts. He will go to bed upset he’s 10 [11] places behind his team-mate and championship rival. It’s not going to be an easy race for him but I think we will expect him to be fighting for the podium.”

Checo: We couldn’t get track position and the tyres in the right window

F1: Christian Horner se vuelve viral gracias a su reacción luego de la eliminación de Checo Pérez

In the Red Bull Racing Saturday qualifying report, Perez reflected on his session: “Getting the tyres in the right window was the main issue today. It was looking well until we got caught out with the conditions, it was raining and then when it started drying up we went onto the slick tyre, probably about half a lap too late.

“We couldn’t get track position and then once the temperature was in the tyres it started raining harder and it was just too late. Once we were on the inter it was just too wet to get the lap time. Friday was a positive day and [Saturday] in the wet we had figured out a lot going into qualifying, which was really encouraging.

“We could have been a lot higher but in these conditions, it was a bit of a lottery with tyres and it was tricky out there. The aim tomorrow, of course, will be to come through the field and get a strong result. Anything can happen in the race, we will keep our heads down, work hard overnight and try to minimise the damage,” added Perez.

While Red Bull are dominant and have won every race this season with Verstappen triumphing in five, Perez has failed to make the podium in his last two – no points in Monaco and fourth in Spain.

In Miami in May he was challenging Verstappen for the championship lead with both on two wins apiece, prompting Horner’s defence of their increasingly beleaguered driver: “He had a great start to the season, he’s had a couple of rougher races and I think he just needs to find that mojo again.

“We know what he’s capable of, we’ve seen it earlier in the year. If he just frees his shoulders up a bit it will just come to him more naturally,” ventured the Red Bull team boss.

Horner: Unfortunately for Checo, he just didn’t get that first lap in

Max Verstappen ligt niet wakker van mindere optredens Perez

After the Spanish Grand Prix, Horner acknowledged that Verstappen, still only 25 but chasing a 41st career win this weekend that would lift him alongside the late Ayrton Senna in the all-time lists, was a tough teammate.

“I think now there is that separation in the points, that may actually take the pressure off him a little and the expectation he’s putting on himself,” Horner reckoned.

As for the woeful performance by the veteran on Saturday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Red Bull team boss added: “Unfortunately for Checo, he just didn’t get that first lap in on the slick tyre when the circuit was in the window. Then he came back onto the inter because it was too wet for the slicks, so it was frustrating for him.

“However, unlike Monaco, this is a track that you can overtake at, the forecast is saying it’ll be a dry race, he’s a great racer and he’s got a fast car so I’d be disappointed if we weren’t much further up the order. It’s a mixed-up grid so it should be an exciting race,” predicted Horner.

On Thursday, Perez told reporters in Montreal that the pressure remained and he cut a subdued figure after Saturday’s performance: “Definitely not feeling great. Not going through a great moment. But we’ve come back before and the race is a new opportunity to hopefully get back into very strong points.” (Additional reporting by Alan Baldwin)