Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was amused by Lewis Hamilton’s complaints about Ferrari’s power unit because of the deficit his own team is facing in terms of straightline speed.
Hamilton stated Ferrari has “a few trick things” on its car – referencing its power unit performance this year – after being beaten by Sebastian Vettel in the Belgian Grand Prix, but later clarified that he was not suggesting the Italian team is doing anything illegal. Horner has been critical of Renault’s inability to match the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari in recent seasons, leading to Red Bull switching to Honda power next season.
Pierre Gasly finished ninth at Spa in the Honda-powered Toro Rosso, and when asked if such a performance on a power-sensitive circuit was encouraging, Horner replied: “I mean, [Honda] need to make a step.
“As you can see, Ferrari and Mercedes… just to hear Lewis moaning about Ferrari, I nearly got my violin out!
“But the gap is significant. I think if we just close that, and Honda are making great progress, they’re scoring points regularly, Pierre has been very, very upbeat about them and you can see they’re making headway.”
Red Bull ran an extremely small rear wing in Belgium to compensate for its lack of straight line speed, and the upcoming Italian Grand Prix at Monza is likely to be another testing weekend. Horner admits the focus for his team is on the races after the European finale, where he is hopeful of challenging for victories, which will include Daniel Ricciardo taking a power unit penalty that will force him to start from the back of the grid.
“We will be trying to get ourselves on the best footing, really,” he said. “Daniel is going to be taking an engine penalty for sure next weekend. Max [Verstappen] will be taking his third unit as well there, hopefully without penalty.
“So we’re going to try and get ourselves into the best situation we can going to Singapore, which is probably our next chance of being able to give Ferrari and Mercedes a harder time.”