Red Bull leading both championships ‘beyond expectations’ says Horner – but Mercedes will ‘bounce back fast’
Formula 1’s turbo-hybrid era is 143 races old – and yet it was only at the 143rd race last weekend in Monaco that Red Bull moved to the head of the constructors’ championship, their first time on top since Brazil 2013. And Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said that to be leading both that and the drivers’ standings (thanks to Max Verstappen) at this point of the season was “beyond expectations”.
Monaco winner Verstappen has finished either first or second in every race so far this year – while with Red Bull outscoring Mercedes 37 points to seven in Monaco, it was enough to lift Red Bull one point above the Silver Arrows in the constructors’ standings, as Verstappen moved four points clear of Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’, the first time the Dutchman has ever led the standings.
“For us to… come out leading both championships is beyond expectations,” said Horner after Monaco. “It just shows how close things are and how things can move around very quickly. We’ve just got to keep in striking distance until the back end of the championship. That’s where the pressure really comes.
“I think it was important to take our chances [in Monaco],” added Horner. “Mercedes had a rare off day and I think it was important to convert that. As a team we’ve done that.
“There’s still a long, long way to go… But when [Mercedes] have an off day it’s important for us to bank a lot of points.”
Mercedes haven’t won every drivers’ and constructors’ championship since 2014 by having many off days, though. And Horner expected Toto Wolff’s team to come back at them hard in the coming races, starting with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on June 6 – with Mercedes having enjoyed three wins in Baku to Red Bull’s one.
“I think Azerbaijan is a very different kind of street circuit to [Monaco],” said Horner. “Very long straights, and it’s been a strong track for Mercedes in the past. We’re not under any illusions, we are sure they are going to bounce back fast. We’ve got to go there and attack the weekend exactly as we have done at every race this season.
“[We’re] leading both championships for the first time in the hybrid era, so that’s really encouraging,” added Horner. “But no one’s getting carried away. There’s still an awful long way to go in this championship – but to be as close as we are at this stage is encouraging.”
Constructors' standings ahead of Baku
|1 Red Bull Racing||149|
|5 Aston Martin||19|