Horner: 'Well-rounded' Perez will push Verstappen more than Albon

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes new driver Sergio Perez will provide stronger competition for Max Verstappen in 2021.

The past two years, the Dutchman has been somewhat alone in leading the charge for the Milton Keynes-based outfit as first Pierre Gasly and then Alex Albon struggled to be competitive.

As a result, Red Bull opted to bring in their first non-junior driver since 2007 in Perez, who claimed fourth in the Drivers' Championship with Racing Point last season.

“Checo has a lot of experience and has been driving in Formula 1 for 10 years. His performances last season were great, especially in races where he was very strong,” MotorsportWeek quoted Horner as telling Dutch website RacingNews365.

“I think he can push Max more than Albon did last season. Hopefully, that will make us stronger as a unit in our fight with Mercedes.”

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This won't be the first time Horner and Perez have worked together as the Red Bull team boss is one of the founders of Arden International, with whom the Mexican competed in GP2 in 2009.

And the Briton says it was clear back then that Perez had the qualities which have made him a 10-time podium scorer and now F1 race winner for midfield teams.

“In his first year in GP2, he was always stronger in races than in qualifying," he explained.

"He had the determination to never give up. Sergio was like a young dog with a bone. I think that has become his trademark in terms of racing.

“It’s no coincidence that he managed to reach the podium in cars that didn’t belong on the podium.

“He is very determined during the races and his tyre management is very good. Sergio is now at a stage in his career where he is very well-rounded.”

Whether Perez is a long-term choice for Red Bull is still uncertain after only signing a one-year deal at the team for 2021.