Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Horner: Perez's Miami defeat a "big psychological blow" in F1 title race

Christian Horner says Sergio Perez’s defeat to Max Verstappen in the Miami Grand Prix was a “big, psychological blow” for him in the 2023 Formula 1 title battle.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, congratulate each other in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Perez had arrived in Miami just six points back from Verstappen in the drivers’ standings and with a 2-2 record for GP race wins following his triumph in Jeddah and his Baku victory double in the first sprint weekend of the season.

The Mexican driver’s chances of taking the lead in the standings were then greatly enhanced in the first of three 2023 races in the USA when Verstappen’s early Q3 mistake in Miami qualifying was compounded by Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc crashing on the final runs and stopping anyone improving. 

That meant Perez qualified on pole and Verstappen languished in ninth. 

But the next day, Verstappen had catapulted himself into victory contention with a serene rise on a contra-strategy compared to the initial leader in the early stages, then passed Perez shortly after making his sole pitstop in the race’s second half. 

PLUS: The 10 best race drives of F1 2023

“The first four or five races he was very, very strong,” Horner said of Perez in an exclusive interview with Autosport. 

“And it was really after Miami that I think that was a big, psychological blow for him – losing that race.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, passes Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, for the lead

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, passes Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, for the lead

“Then off the back of that, Monaco Q1, making a mistake.  

“You know, confidence is such a vital thing in this sport and I think that that momentum that he built up – because his races in Saudi and Azerbaijan were truly outstanding – [was hit].  

“I mean, Azerbaijan he had the clean sweep with a sprint win and the grand prix itself.  

“So, by the time we headed back into Europe, it started to disintegrate for him. And then there was sort of peaks and troughs.  

Read Also:

“I mean he drove, for example, a brilliant race in Monza, made a great call in Zandvoort in the wet, then unfortunately mistakes started to creep in as he put more pressure on himself.  

“But what was good to see is him pick his form up again at the end of the season.  

“And, of course, to achieve second place in the championship – something he's never done, something we've never done – to achieve a 1-2 finish.” 

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article F1 tech review: McLaren reverses fortunes after poor start
Next article Aston Martin reveals 2024 F1 car launch plan

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe