In his post-race interview with Sky Sports F1, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner wasted no time in delivering a swift response to Nico Rosberg’s comments regarding Sergio Perez’s performance at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Despite starting from 11th on the grid due to an early exit in qualifying, Perez showcased remarkable resilience on Sunday, orchestrating an exceptional comeback drive to secure a commendable fourth-place finish.
Sergio Perez’s pursuit of a podium finish at the Spanish Grand Prix was a heart-wrenching one, as he narrowly missed out on joining the celebration alongside race-winner Max Verstappen.
Engaging in a thrilling battle with George Russell, who ultimately held onto third place, Perez showcased his tenacity but fell just short of his target. Post-race, when queried about his reflections on the event, Christian Horner seemed to take umbrage with Nico Rosberg’s line of questioning.
Rosberg implied that Perez’s lap times were lacking in the initial stages of the 66-lap competition, a notion that Horner seemed keen to challenge.
“You were just saying he did a good race but I thought it was quite a lack of performance, especially during the early part of the race,” began Rosberg. “Isn’t that true? I mean, comparing to Max there were some laps where there was quite a gap.”
Horner showed no interest in engaging in criticism towards his own driver, instead choosing to respond to Rosberg’s remarks with a cleverly veiled retort of his own.
“You’re a critical kind of guy, aren’t you? You’re tough on these guys. Now you’re out of the car you have to criticise all the guys,” replied Christian Horner.
Furthermore, Horner proceeded to provide an explanation for Perez’s inability to secure a podium position by attributing it to the stewards’ decision not to penalize Russell for potentially exceeding track limits and gaining an advantage during the race’s initial lap.
“I think that he [Perez] lost out in the early laps and didn’t have a great start,” added Horner. “George managed to get away with running off the track and not getting any penalty for that and I think that was the difference at the end of the day.
“Checo’s race was getting stronger and stronger and that last stint in particular, he was really coming back very strong, but just not enough laps to fight for the podium.”
Amidst the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a podium finish in Barcelona, it was evident that Perez, too, carried a sense of frustration.
The 33-year-old expressed his emotions to reporters gathered in the media pen, emphasizing his disappointment at not securing a top-three position.
“If we wanted more then we should have taken a risk like George did, for example, but that would have been difficult,” he quipped.
“We did minimise the damage a bit. I generally felt like we were not quite there this weekend. Hopefully, it’s something we can solve before Canada. We operate in such a small window that we need to be perfect to have strong pace.”