Christian Horner says Red Bull Racing still have it all to play for despite a frustrating Hungarian Grand Prix saw them concede their advantage in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship.
Both Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez were caught up in a first lap, first corner crash initiated by Valtteri Bottas, and although the Dutchman was able to continue, the Mexican was forced to retire before the lap was out with significant damage to his RB16B.
Verstappen’s car also took a lot of damage in the incident that also involved McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris, and Red Bull’s mechanics worked wonders to fix the car under the red flag enough for him to be in with a chance of points.
Ultimately, Verstappen did struggle throughout the race due to the damage, but he was able to salvage two points by finishing ninth. Unfortunately, Lewis Hamilton’s second place meant the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver took over at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.
“It is obviously an enormously frustrating way to end the weekend, but we are within 10 points of first place in the championship going into the summer break which means it’s all to play for,” said Horner, the Team Principal at Red Bull.
“Unfortunately, Bottas braking late into Turn 1 eliminated both of our cars, Checo was immediately forced to retire and the substantial amount of damage to the right-hand side of Max’s car meant he had no chance of fighting at the front.
“Full credit once again has to go to our mechanics who worked wonders to get Max’s car back out for the race. The temperatures were off the scale, and they had to straighten pipes and fix the right side as much as possible in very limited time, before nailing the fastest pit stop once again, which is quite remarkable.
“It is also disappointing not to have seen what Checo had in store today as his start was impressive and he felt very confident in the car and his race pace. Max fought hard, despite the extensive damage and downforce losses, securing one point which could prove vital at the end of the year.”
“There are many positives to take into the summer break”
Horner says the results in Hungary has cost Red Bull a lot, both in the championship and financially, but they can still go into the summer break with confidence they have a car that is good enough to fight at the front of the field week in and week out.
“There is no doubt that this has cost us a lot today, financially in a cost cap world, points wise and for Honda who now need to understand whether Checo’s engine is salvageable, but there are many positives to take into the summer break,” said Horner.
“We have achieved six victories with the most competitive chassis and power unit package we have had for years and the whole team is fully motivated. We will take a few weeks off, recharge and come out fighting for the second half of this championship.
“We have experienced close title battles like this before and we are not giving up anything. The points difference between the top two in both championships is still very small, it will be an epic second half to this year and we are ready for it.”