Horner says Red Bull threw 'everything' at the Miami GP – as he anticipates season-long title fight with Ferrari
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said Red Bull left nothing on the table in their efforts to win the inaugural Miami Grand Prix with Max Verstappen – and that the title battle could likely “go all the way” this season.
Verstappen started third but snatched P2 off Carlos Sainz as the lights went out, going on to pass Charles Leclerc – and fend off his late rebuttal after the Safety Car restart. Horner said Verstappen was “fantastic” on Sunday – but admitted that the Scuderia made things slightly easier for the reigning champion.
“[We threw] just everything we had at it,” said Horner. “After the Safety Car we were quite lucky that the Ferrari didn’t pit and take on a new tyre for that because they could probably have put on the soft tyre, so at least that neutralised things.
READ MORE: ‘We need to respond’ – Binotto urges Ferrari to hit back after second straight Verstappen win
“He [Verstappen] was fantastic today and I think under pressure having lost track time on Friday, especially at a new circuit, that hurt us in qualifying but in the race there were a few key moments: the start, looking after the tyres, putting Charles under pressure, making that pass and really controlling the race until that Safety Car. Because with the three DRS zones, that was so powerful, it was very, very hard to break the tow.
“Ferrari let us off the hook slightly when it went from a Virtual Safety Car to a full Safety Car, Max had already passed the pit entry whereas Ferrari would have had a free stop and they didn’t take it with either of their cars – so we’re grateful for that because I think if they’d put soft tyres on, that would have been a P3 today.”
As for the first-ever race in Miami, which saw a star-studded celebrity cast engage with the drivers and fans throughout the weekend before gracing the grid, Horner was thrilled by the Miami Grand Prix’s impact.
“Look, it’s been great, the reception that we’ve had, the passion that there’s been here. The interest in Formula 1 is sky-high, you can see that by the reception that we got today. Americans certainly know how to host an event; they’ve done a great job with that and I think it was a good enough race to get everyone excited.”
READ MORE: 'We lost another 1-2' says Perez after engine issue drops him out of podium fight at Miami
With Verstappen just 19 points behind Leclerc before the Spanish GP – Red Bull just six behind Ferrari as Sergio Perez finished fourth on Sunday – Horner said that this title fight could well go the distance.
“There’s a long, long way to go, it’s so tight with Ferrari and there’s been some great racing. You can see there is a great respect between Charles and Max, they are enjoying racing each other and I think you can see that.
“I was rather hoping we weren’t set for another competitive year like the last one, but it looks like this one could go all the way as well.”
Constructors' standings after Miami
|2 Red Bull Racing||151|