Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was quick to snap back at Nico Rosberg while discussing Sergio Perez's performance at the Spanish Grand Prix in his post-race interview with Sky Sports F1. Perez was forced to start from 11th on the grid after he was knocked out early in qualifying in Barcelona but managed to produce an impressive recovery drive on Sunday to claim a fourth-placed finish.
The Mexican driver came agonisingly close to joining the podium celebrations alongside race-winner Max Verstappen but came up just short in his battle with George Russell, who managed to hang on to third place to cap off a strong weekend for Mercedes. Horner was quizzed on his thoughts after the race but appeared to take issue with by Rosberg's line of questioning when the latter suggested that Perez's lap times were not good enough in the early stages of the 66-lap contest.
"You were just saying he did a good race but I thought it was quite a lack of performance, especially during the early part of the race," began Rosberg. "Isn't that true? I mean, comparing to Max there were some laps where there was quite a gap."
Horner was in no mood to be drawn into criticising his own driver, though, and responded by firing back at Rosberg with a thinly-veiled dig of his own.
The Red Bull chief turned to face Rosberg and said: "You're a critical kind of guy, aren't you? You're tough on these guys. Now you're out of the car you have to criticise all the guys."
Horner went on to offer an excuse for Perez's failure to get on the podium by blaming the stewards for deciding not to punish Russell for potentially leaving the track and gaining an advantage on the opening lap of the race.
"I think that he [Perez] lost out in the early laps and didn't have a great start," added Horner. "George managed to get away with running off the track and not getting any penalty for that and I think that was the difference at the end of the day.
"Checo's race was getting stronger and stronger and that last stint in particular, he was really coming back very strong, but just not enough laps to fight for the podium."
Meanwhile, it was clear that Perez was also frustrated after missing out on a top-three finish in Barcelona, with the 33-year-old telling reporters in the media pen: "If we wanted more then we should have taken a risk like George did, for example, but that would have been difficult.
"We did minimise the damage a bit. I generally felt like we were not quite there this weekend. Hopefully, it's something we can solve before Canada. We operate in such a small window that we need to be perfect to have strong pace."
Follow our Express Sport page on Instagram hereLink.2023-06-04T15:27:20Z dg43tfdfdgfd