Red Bull were assuredly set to retain Monaco Grand Prix winner Sergio Perez for next season and beyond after the Mexican accidentally confirmed it ahead of the podium celebrations.
The most recent worst kept secret in Formula 1 has now been officially announced with Perez committing his future to the team with a two-year contract extension as Max Verstappen's teammate.
After joining for 2021 when he was ousted by Lawrence Stroll's Racing Point/Aston Martin team at the end of 2020, Perez enjoyed his most successful season ever with 190 points and fourth place in the championship.
He took victory in Azerbaijan last season and has since won in Monaco last time out. An emotional Perez was caught by a television camera saying to team principal Christan Horner that he “probably signed too early” heading to the post-race Monaco podium celebrations.
Horner certainly didn’t refute the quip from Perez at the time, and neither dismissed the idea when questioned about it later on.
"He has proved himself to not only be a magnificent team player but as his level of comfort has grown he has become a real force to be reckoned with at the sharp end of the grid," states Horner.
"This year he has taken another step and the gap to World Champion Max has closed significantly, evidenced by his superb pole position in Jeddah earlier this year and by his wonderful win in Monaco just last weekend.
"For us, holding onto his pace, race craft and experience was a no-brainer and we are delighted that Checo will continue to race for the team until 2024. In partnership with Max we believe we have a driver pairing that can bring us the biggest prizes in F1."
Perez added his thoughts on his "incredible" week since taking the chequered flag in Monaco.
"Winning the Monaco Grand Prix is a dream for any driver and then to follow that with announcing I will continue with the team until 2024 just makes me extremely happy," says Perez. "I am so proud to be a member of this team and I feel completely at home here now.
"We are working very well together and my relationship with Max, on and off the track, is definitely helping drive us forward even more. We have built tremendous momentum as a Team and this season is showing that, I am excited to see where that can take us all in the future."