Horner hints Perez also to blame for qualifying woe
By Ian Parkes
Friday 7th April, 2023 - 1:00am
Christian Horner has indicated Sergio Perez was at fault for the fact he ended up in the gravel during qualifying for the Australian GP rather than there being any problem with the car.
Perez endured a number of off-track excursions during final practice due to what appeared to be an inconsistent brake pedal.
The Mexican driver’s RB19 was on the jacks and being worked on just a few minutes prior to the qualifying hour at Melbourne’s Albert Park.
On his first push lap in Q1, Perez locked up on the approach at Turn 3, sending him into the gravel where he beached his car.
He later declared himself to be “a passenger” in the incident, suggesting there to be “something…moving the brake balance quite far forward under braking”.
Under parc fermé conditions ahead of the race, the team changed the brake pads and the parameters associated with them.
Confirming his team “changed a few components that may have contributed to” Perez’s problem, Horner added: “It didn’t sound like there was any recurrence of it (during the race), so that’s good news.”
Asked whether there was an actual problem, or whether it was a case of Perez being on cold tyres on a cold circuit, a diplomatic Horner replied: “He had a very difficult P3, which was far from the best preparation.
“Then obviously he went out, was pushing hard on that first lap, and he was late and hard on the brakes into Turn Three.
“There are certain things, that when you put all the bits and pieces together, weren’t quite perfect, but you know, often these cars aren’t.”
“A great recovery” from Perez – Horner
As to Perez’s remark about the brake balance and whether there was a mechanical issue, Horner added: “No, it’s something they control in the car.
“I think we’d had a bit of the engine running on in P3 but the levels we saw in qualifying were nothing abnormal.”
At least Perez was able to rescue his weekend on Sunday.
From a pit lane start, and courtesy of the chaos that unfolded in the race, the 33-year-old went on to finish fifth behind team-mate Max Verstappen, and take the fastest lap.
“A great comeback, fastest lap as well,” said Horner. “A great performance, great recovery from him, so important points for him and the team.”
Perez goes into the fourth race of the year in Azerbaijan on April 28-30, 15 points behind Verstappen in the drivers’ standings, with Red Bull 58 points clear of second-placed Aston Martin in the constructors’ championship.
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