Christian Horner has warned Sergio Perez he needs a “big race” at the British Grand Prix as rumours swirl over his Red Bull future.

Perez arrived at Silverstone with rumours that performance clauses in his contract could see him replaced by Daniel Ricciardo and he did himself no favours with an early exit from qualifying.

Christian Horner expects ‘big race’ from Sergio Perez after quali exit

The Mexican will start P19 in Sunday’s race after finding the gravel at Copse and condemning himself to a P19 start, ahead of only Pierre Gasly who has a 50-place grid penalty for changing engines.

With Red Bull under increasing threat in the Constructors’, a trend not gone unnoticed by McLaren CEO Zak Brown, more pressure is on Perez to perform.

“Nobody is more disappointed than Checo,” Horner said. “We can’t afford to go out in Q1.

“He needs a big race.”

Perez was insistent that the speculation surrounding his future, something that only increased with the revelation that Liam Lawson will conduct a Red Bull test at Silverstone after the grand prix next week, was not affecting his performance.

“No, no, that has nothing to do with it,” he told media including PlanetF1.com.

“I’m fully focused on my job, I’m fully focused on getting the performance out of myself, the form that I know what I can be and yesterday we had a very positive day – things were looking in the right direction.

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“So head down and it’s a matter of time before we turn around the situation.”

As for his exit, Perez described it as “a very unfortunate incident” and even said during the session that he could have continued had marshals been allowed to push him out of the gravel.

“Really, really tricky, very difficult, especially in the beginning,” Perez said of qualifying.

“As I was trying to warm up the tyres going into Turn 9 [Copse] when I downshifted, I basically lost the rear end quite badly and I went out of the track on cold tyres, and it was completely sunk of water outside of the track, so I just ended up going into the gravel.

“I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t go straight – a very unfortunate incident.”

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