Red Bull team boss Christian Horner defended Sergio Perez after the Mexican's botched race at Imola last weekend, ensuring his driver will enjoy "many stronger Sunday afternoons" in the future.
Perez's impressive performance in qualifying that saw him line up on the front row of the Emilia Romagna GP grid alongside poleman Lewis Hamilton was undone at the outset on race day.
The Red Bull driver was overhauled by teammate Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc on the opening lap and then slid off the track during the safety car period only to reclaim his spot by wrongly overtaking several drivers during the caution period, a mistake that earned him a 10-second penalty.
Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse for the Mexican who later spun into the gravel at the Villeneuve chicane when the race was restarted after a red flag halt.
At the end of the day, Perez was left with a lowly P11 and zero points, a result that disappointed Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko. But Horner vowed to judge his driver in a more optimistic light.
"There were a lot of things going on in the race," said the Briton. "That was unfortunate. It was a shame because he had such a good Saturday, but Sunday just didn’t go his way.
"I’m sure he’s going to have many stronger Sunday afternoons."
Horner admitted to being frustrated by Perez point-less afternoon, but the Red Bull team boss reckons his driver's performance will improve as he gains more mileage onboard his new car.
"I think he had a very good day [in qualifying], he was obviously frustrated to miss out on the pole,” Horner said.
"I think it’s just seat time, consecutive sets of tyres that he run in qualifying, it’s just time in the seat.
"He did a good job on Saturday. It was a messier race for him. Obviously the mistake behind the safety car early on, the 10-second penalty and then unfortunately the mistake behind the Ferraris at the restart.
"It was a shame because he could well have been on the podium as well. Frustrating not to have him up there but he’s certainly finding his pace, finding his feet.
"I’m sure he’s going to have much stronger weekends ahead."