Perez found himself outside of the top ten, missing out on the final Q3 session at the Losail International Circuit. The Mexican driver's final lap time stewards over was deleted by track limits violations at Turn 5, which marked an early end to his qualifying session.
During an interview with Sky Sports F1 post-qualifying, Horner discussed the increasing performance gap between his drivers, particularly in terms of single-lap pace – an ever-more apparent problem to which Horner admits he doesn't yet have a solution.
“I think Checo responds better to an arm round the shoulder. It’s mentally, a tough game. All topline sport is, and when you’re going up against a driver like Max and with the pressure that comes with it, that pressure only intensifies, and I think Checo - we know what he’s capable of and we know that he’s a great racer.
"Qualifying is always his Achilles heel, so we’ve just got to try and support him through these difficult moments to make sure that he comes back strong tomorrow and of course in the race on Sunday."
Horner: Perez will respond
“Checo, it’s a tough moment for him. He’s an experienced guy, he has all the pressure obviously on his shoulders that mounts from being in one of the hottest seats in Formula 1. I’m sure that he’ll respond to that.
"We just need to support him as a team, and try and do the best to get the most out of him and make sure he finishes in that second place in the championship."
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