Horner hails Red Bull’s pace and vows to keep attacking as title fight enters closing stages
Red Bull boss Christian Horner was delighted with a near-perfect afternoon in Mexico, as Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez secured a one-three result for the team to close the gap on title rivals Mercedes to just one point with four races to go, but he is refusing to get carried away with their impressive run of form.
Verstappen passed both Mercedes cars at the start to take the lead and pressed home Red Bull’s strong pace to take his ninth win of the season, extending his advantage over Lewis Hamilton to 19 points. With Perez completing the podium and the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas failing to score, Red Bull slashed the deficit to their silver rivals.
“A fantastic drive by Max,” said Horner. “The most important part was the start, he nailed the start – he found himself a bit of space which I was surprised that they gave him the room but I have to say Valtteri was very fair. And I thought Max had missed his braking, because he was so late on the brakes into Turn 1 but he made it stick and from there really controlled the race, it was a very straightforward race for him.
“I think we had great pace today, you could see it with Checo, he was getting so close on the last few laps and he drove a great race today and they were coming up to a bit of traffic. Lewis boxed to make sure he retained the track position and we gave Checo about 10-lap better tyres. And he really made that work at the end of the race so a great race from him.”
Despite Red Bull’s strong performance on two very different tracks in Austin and Mexico, Horner is refusing to get carried away by title talk and says Red Bull will continue their aggressive approach heading into the remaining races, starting with Brazil – where they have been strong in the past.
“There’s still 107 points available so a long way to go,” he said. “Reliability is going to play a crucial role, maximising every weekend, strategy, pit stops.
“There’s still a lot of points available and we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing, keep attacking, keep pushing and maximise every weekend.
He added: “You can see what [a result like this] means to the whole team. We’ve worked so hard to get into this position and to be one point behind in the constructors’ with four races to go, to be 19 ahead in the drivers’ now.”
Mexico City is the highest altitude circuit F1 travels to, with the upcoming Grand Prix at Interlagos the second highest. Red Bull have traditionally held the edge over Mercedes in those conditions but Horner believes the Silver Arrows have clawed that deficit back.
“I think you can see Mercedes were very strong here, much stronger than at previous years so yes, I don’t think there is any advantage at altitude anymore.”