A five-race stretch without a Q3 appearance from Monaco to Silverstone significantly impacted his points accumulation, allowing team-mate Max Verstappen a relatively smooth path to a third straight drivers' championship.
While Perez made something of a resurgence in the latter part of the season, his struggle over one lap persisted, reflected in an average qualifying position of 8.8 from the final seven grands prix, while Verstappen took pole on four occasions.
Horner: Perez has to sort it out
Horner, speaking to Sky Sports, acknowledged his satisfaction with Perez's race-day performances but highlighted the necessity for improvement in qualifying to avoid unnecessary hurdles.
“I think the last few races he’s had a bit of a reset,” Horner said. “His pace, when you look at the analysis through [the Abu Dhabi] weekend, again was very, very strong. He’s just got to sort his Saturdays out.
“His race pace is there, his race craft is fantastic, he’s probably overtaken more cars than anybody this year, but we just need him to be starting in the first four rather than ninth or 10th, whatever his average has been over the last few races.”
As the curtain fell on the season, Verstappen boasted a substantial 290-point lead over Perez, whose contract is set to conclude at the end of 2024.
With competitors striving to narrow the gap during the winter break, Horner recognises the imperative role both drivers must play in sustaining Red Bull's triumphant streak.
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