Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner was pleased with the outcome of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, with the team scoring a podium result with Max Verstappen in their first race outing following their switch from Renault to Honda power.
Not since 2008, when Rubens Barrichello scored a top three result in the British Grand Prix, has a Honda powered car finished inside the top three, so to do it on the first weekend of the new partnership with Red Bull was pleasing for Horner.
“A fantastic start to the season with a podium finish at our first Grand Prix with our new power unit partner Honda, who haven’t finished in the top three since 2008,” said Horner.
Horner was delighted with the performance showed by Verstappen, who made a good move to pass Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the final place on the podium and then put pressure onto Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s Lewis Hamilton for second, although the Briton was able to hold off the Dutchman.
“Max put in a remarkable performance today, and after a decent start and one of the day’s fastest pit stops, he was able to take advantage of the C3 tyre and make a great pass on Sebastian,” said Horner.
“He went on to put Lewis under pressure for the rest of the race, but didn’t get quite close enough.”
Horner was also full of praise for Pierre Gasly, who he felt drove strongly throughout the race only to fall short on the points by a handful of car lengths, and he believes his time will come at the front of the field.
Gasly was left compromised by the misjudgement by his engineers not to run again during the opening segment of Qualifying on Saturday that left him towards the rear of the field, but he was unable to make the final jump into the points.
“Pierre battled his way from P17 to finish just outside of the points, but at this track it’s notoriously hard to overtake,” said Horner. “He drove the wheels off the car and it’s a shame that it wasn’t rewarded with a point.
“He raced hard and I’m sure his time will come. After a promising season opener, we now look ahead to Bahrain.”