The first part is very, very true, and does make the way it hampered his chances of getting what could have proven to be Red Bull’s best possible result in Spain even more disappointing. Had Perez won that race from Verstappen, the gap between the two drivers arriving in Monaco would have been 13 points (assuming the defending champion got a chance to take the fastest lap point instead).
Sunday’s win in Monaco would have left him three points off the lead, and level on points with Charles Leclerc. All of which would have come about without it costing Red Bull a single point.
Now, I know that’s all hypothetical, but it was something that Red Bull did not allow to have a chance of playing out, hurting Perez’s race hopes to give an ailing Verstappen a better chance of winning in Spain. And against that backdrop, the second part of Horner’s answer remained telling.
He’d also mentioned the team, but Monaco is a race where everyone knows it is almost impossible to overtake. Realistically, Red Bull was always going to struggle to switch its cars around without a risk of giving up points to Ferrari somewhere, but Horner still hinted the door was open for strategy to be the way Verstappen might end up ahead.
Ultimately, Perez drove too well in the crucial moments for that opportunity to arise, nailing his laps on intermediate tyres and being as good as Verstappen was exiting the pits on slicks to stay ahead of Carlos Sainz and retain a lead that Ferrari had allowed him to take.
But it’s not a victory that does anything to suggest Perez is going to be allowed to fight freely for the championship. The lingering feeling from Spain remains, that Verstappen has already been chosen as the driver being prioritised.
It’s a feeling that is surely not misplaced when you take Jos Verstappen’s quotes after Monaco into account, too. Jos complained that Red Bull “exerted little influence to help Max to the front” over Perez.