Formula 1

Finishing fourth ‘Tough’ on Verstappen after Strong Monaco Drive – Horner

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Christian Horner was pleased with the performance from Red Bull Racing during Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly being classified fourth and fifth respectively.

Verstappen was one of the stars of the race at the Circuit de Monaco, finishing second on the road behind Mercedes AMG Motorsport’s Lewis Hamilton, but it was a clash between him and the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas that had a more lasting impression on his afternoon, with the two clashing in the pit lane.

Stewards deemed Verstappen was released from his pit stop in an unsafe manner as a result of the contact, with the five-second time penalty given to him relegating him off the podium in the final result behind both Sebastian Vettel and Bottas.

Red Bull Team Principal Horner was full of praise for the way Verstappen attacked for the rest of the race, making one legitimate attempt on Hamilton for the lead with a handful of laps remaining.  However, the move did not come off and he was forced to settle for second on the road and fourth in the overall result.

“Max drove the wheels off the car today,” reflected Horner.  “He got away in grid position and had a look at passing Bottas into turn one but wasn’t quite far enough alongside.

“The mechanics did a great job with the pit stop and Max left the box before Bottas which, as per the rules, is fine.  Unfortunately, it all got a bit too tight resulting in the Mercedes making contact with the barrier and the stewards issuing Max a five second penalty.

“Max drove like a lion for the rest of the race and tried everything he could to pass Lewis.  We had a better tyre strategy and there was only really one lap where he got close to making a move into the chicane.

“Finishing second on the road, but with the top four so close, he was denied a podium. Finishing fourth is tough for Max today after a drive like that but as always, he didn’t give up until the chequered flag.”

Horner was also impressed by the performance of Gasly, who made his way from eighth on the grid to finish a season’s best fifth.  The Frenchman gained track position by staying on track whilst others pitted behind the safety car, and then made good use of that position to draw away from the chasing pack.

He pitted a second time for the soft compound of tyre knowing he had a big enough gap to the chasing pack behind and gained a bonus point for the second time in 2019 for setting the fastest lap, much to the pleasure of Horner.

“Pierre really made a great recovery having got the penalty yesterday and starting in P8,” said Horner.  “He kept his head, was quick when he had clear track and managed to move up the order.

“With the benefit of the second pit stop, he smashed the fastest lap for that extra point which is important for the Team and was able to progress up to P5. A great job by him and the Team and also congratulations to Honda for having four Honda powered cars in the top eight.”

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