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Horner praises Perez for ‘driving the wheels off the car’ after Red Bull pit stop error

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Red Bull’s Sergio Perez crossed the Styrian Grand Prix finish line just 0.527s off the rear wing of third-placed Valtteri Bottas. But with Perez having lost time to a poor pit stop, the Mexican was left ruing a missed opportunity for a third straight podium – despite impressing boss Christian Horner…

Having been outqualified by the McLaren of Lando Norris on Saturday, Perez was forced to battle Norris in the early stages of the race after starting P4 before decisively moving ahead of the Briton for P3 on Lap 10 – as Bottas behind did the same a lap later, the Finn having started behind Perez after a grid penalty.

READ MORE: Verstappen eases to Styrian Grand Prix victory over title rival Hamilton

But with Perez then suffering a poor first pit stop with a sticking left-rear wheel which kept him stationary for 4.8s, Bottas was able to overcut him into a third place that he wouldn’t relinquish – with Perez switching to a two-stop and charging after the Finn before coming up just half a second short at the chequered flag.

“Half a lap really,” said Perez, when asked how much longer he’d have needed to pass Bottas for P3. “But it’s how it is sometimes. The soft [Perez’s starting tyre] was worse than expected, and then we had a poor stop which meant that we gave the position to Valtteri. But then the team tried to recover with the strategy and unfortunately there at the end it wasn’t enough, but we just tried our very best.”

2021 Styrian Grand Prix: Pérez chases Bottas to the line in late fight for podium place

With Max Verstappen able to claim his second consecutive win – and the fourth in a row for Red Bull – in Styria, Red Bull Team Principal Horner said that the only thing that had spoiled Red Bull’s “immaculate day” was Perez’s pit stop error, as he praised the Mexican for his recovery drive at the Red Bull Ring.

“I think the whole team's just working tremendously well at the moment – the only hiccup we had in that race was the pit stop for Checo but other than that it was an immaculate performance,” said Horner.

READ MORE: Hamilton says Mercedes ‘have no answers’ to Red Bull pace after losing to Verstappen in Styrian GP

“[Checo] drove the wheels off the car today. It was a shame the pit stop didn't go better for him because he would have maintained the track position pretty easily. But then his fightback was impressive and I think that it was just a second or two on that left-rear [that cost him].”

Verstappen and Perez’s joint result in Styria, meanwhile, saw them outscore Mercedes 37 to 34 at their home track, to move 40 points clear in the constructors’ standings – with the two teams set to face off at the same circuit next weekend for the Austrian Grand Prix on July 2-4.

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