Once Perez completed his final qualifying lap, team leader Christian Horner congratulated him over the radio. In response, Perez humorously stated: “Ah, you will talk to me now…” To this, Horner answered, “I will talk to you. I told you top five, mate. You’ve nailed it.”
This interaction sparked widespread speculation on social media, leading many to believe there might be a conflict between Horner and his driver.
Perez clarified the underlying humor in this exchange during the post-race press conference on Sunday, explaining that it had been misunderstood.
“It was a joke,” said Perez. “Before qualifying, he told me: ‘if you don’t make it to the top three, I won’t speak to you the rest of the weekend’. So, he indeed spoke to me the rest of the weekend.”
When F1 Flow.com asked Horner to shed light on the message, he joked, “I told him that I wouldn’t speak to him unless he made it to the top five, and I would even pinch his anatomy if he didn’t. It seemed to work, so we’ll have to try that again in Zandvoort…”
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19
The qualifying result marked a significant comeback for Perez, who had previously failed to qualify for the Q3 round for five consecutive races, and only managed to secure the ninth position in Hungary.
Perez eventually secured the second position in Sunday’s race, overtaken by the unstoppable Verstappen before reaching the halfway point.
According to Horner, Perez’s performance in the Spa race will allow him to enter the summer break with boosted self-assurance, having experienced several disrupted weekends and watching Verstappen take a commanding lead in the drivers’ championship.
“I think he’ll have gained considerable confidence from this weekend,” added Horner.
“He secured a front-row position. He led the grand prix, finished second, and he’s solidly second in the drivers’ world championship. I believe this will boost his confidence.
“Certainly, Checo knows that unless Max encounters a disaster, the championship is unreachable for him. So, his focus is on maximizing his performance, not falling behind any other drivers, and aiming to secure a few victories before the year ends.”
Further reporting by Alex Kalinauckas.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Belgian Grand Prix Radio Exchange
What was the “now you will speak with me” exchange between Horner and Perez about?
The exchange was a friendly joke between Red Bull team leader Christian Horner and driver Sergio Perez during the F1 Belgian GP. Horner had told Perez he wouldn’t talk to him the rest of the weekend if Perez didn’t qualify in the top three. After Perez qualified third, he humorously mentioned, “Ah, you will talk to me now…” to Horner.
How did Perez perform at the Spa-Francorchamps race?
Sergio Perez performed remarkably at the Spa-Francorchamps race, placing third in the qualifying round and eventually finishing second in the race itself, behind teammate Max Verstappen.
Did the radio exchange lead to a conflict between Horner and Perez?
No, the radio exchange didn’t lead to a conflict. Despite speculation on social media suggesting a rift, both Horner and Perez clarified that the exchange was a joke, and it helped lighten the team dynamics.
How has this incident affected Perez’s confidence and future outlook?
According to Horner, Perez has likely gained a lot of confidence from his performance in the Spa race. Despite acknowledging that the championship is probably out of reach unless Max Verstappen faces a disaster, Perez is focused on maximising his own performance and trying to secure a few victories before the year ends.