Brown: Poor Pérez form boosts McLaren title bid

Sergio Pérez’s continued poor form could provide the opportunity for resurgent McLaren to overtake champions Red Bull and win the Formula One constructors’ title, McLaren team boss Zak Brown said on Saturday.

While Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen has won seven of 11 races so far, his Mexican teammate has been far from the top step of the podium since his contract was extended in June.

Pérez is fifth in the championship with 118 points to Verstappen’s 237, and has not finished higher than seventh in his last five races after starting the season with three second places from four races.

McLaren, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, have become podium regulars but are 87 points behind Red Bull with 13 races remaining.

They have, however, scored more points than Red Bull in four of the last five races.

While Pérez has scored a mere 15 points from the last five races, Norris has bagged 73 and Piastri 71.

“I think it’s going to be dependent on Pérez, at the end of the day,” Brown told reporters when asked about his own team’s title chances.

“You’ve got to assume that Max is going to be first, second or third at every race, the balance of the year, probably more firsts than thirds.

“Sergio underperforming is what’s opening the window for us. I think if we have the same points gain we’ve had the last six races, the balance of the year, we’d get the job done. So we’re fully aware of it.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner recognised that the Mexican was going through a tough spell.

“His first five races [of the year] were very competitive. It’s the last five,” he told Sky Sports.

“We need him up there supporting Max because there’s two McLarens, two Ferraris, two Mercedes, we desperately need there to be two Red Bulls.”

Brown said McLaren were ready to go “toe-to-toe” with Red Bull, without getting “nasty.”

“They [Red Bull] seem to at times have a win-at-all-costs mentality. That’s not how we go racing. But we think you can go toe-to-toe and take the fight to them our own way,” the McLaren boss said.

Brown has been increasingly critical of Horner, taking issue on Friday with the Briton’s radio messages in Austria last Sunday after Verstappen and Norris collided while fighting for the lead.

Stewards gave Verstappen a 10-second penalty for causing the collision.

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