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Horner reaction to Ricciardo contrasts disappointment in Perez

Daniel Ricciardo scored his first points of the year with seventh at the Mexico City Grand Prix

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner has lauded Daniel Ricciardo’s performance at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

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There is plenty speculation suggesting Ricciardo (left) could replace Perez at Red Bull for next year, although Horner (right) denies this (Image Credit: Getty Images)

The so-called “Honey Badger” impressed all weekend in the underpowered AlphaTauri AT04. He qualified on the second-row of the grid for the Mexico City Grand Prix, and held his own against the likes of McLaren and Mercedes to see the chequered flag in seventh place.

Meanwhile, Red Bull driver Sergio Perez was soundly beaten by Ricciardo in Qualifying, and couldn’t even manage a single corner of his home Grand Prix when he collided with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on the opening lap.

Perez’ seat in Formula 1 is undeniably under pressure, despite Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner’s adamance that the Mexican will remain in the Milton Keynes-based squad until the end of 2024. Many speculate that Ricciardo is first in line to take over at Red Bull should Perez be sacked.

Finishing just over half a second behind the Mercedes of George Russell, Ricciardo’s P7 catapulted AlphaTauri from tenth up to eighth in the Constructors’ Standings. Horner couldn’t hide his pride in seeing Ricciardo score some good points for the team based at Faenza. He said on Sky Sports F1: “You couldn’t fail to be impressed by Daniel this weekend.”

“‘I mean, his qualifying was outstanding yesterday and he showed his maturity and experience and pace in the race. I think that fighting a Mercedes in an AlphaTauri for their best result of the year, it was a great performance.”

“So he can take a lot of confidence, coming back from injury, he’s had a rough time over the last couple of months having to sit on the sidelines, but that’s the Daniel that we’re used to seeing.”

Horner supports distraught Perez in emotional recovery

Horner went on to talk about the importance of psychology and mentality in the sport of F1. He used Ricciardo’s recent result and Perez’ poor run of form as contrasting examples.

He continued: “As we’ve seen in sport, confidence is such a thing and his confidence is coming up. Checo we just need him to have a confidence-boosting result and he could have had it today, but it wasn’t to be.”

The Red Bull boss showed his support for Perez after the race, consoling the driver on the pit wall and defending him in post-race interviews. He stated: “Look, he’s got 13 years of experience in Formula 1, and I think when you’re going through a difficult moment, it’s important to support him.”

“And I think that he was having a great weekend up until that point and he was going for the lead at his home race in Mexico City, with a crowd that it’s insane the amount of support behind him, and three into one doesn’t go and unfortunately he was just on the wrong side of it.”

With just three rounds of the 2023 campaign remaining, Perez will be hoping to put together a decent run of results to ensure he keeps his F1 seat into next year.

Feature Image Credit: LAT Images

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