Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes all teams should be worried by Racing Point’s pace following the team’s strong showing at the Styrian Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez climbed up to fifth place and was hunting down Alex Albon late in the race, setting fastest laps and posting quicker times than Valtteri Bottas at the same time that the Mercedes was chasing Max Verstappen. Horner said that proves Racing Point can even be a problem for Mercedes under the right conditions.
“I think everybody would be worried by the Racing Point,” Horner said. “I mean, Perez was quicker than the Mercedes at that point in the race. Bearing in mind that Bottas was on tires that were within one lap of age to the Racing Point, Perez was three or four tenths quicker.
“So it was very impressive pace that they showed, and I think Alex drove incredibly well to keep them behind. But also, if you look at Alex’s pace on that tire versus Bottas, there was encouragement that we can take from that in a car that wasn’t carrying any damage.”
The reference to Albon comes after the Thai-British driver struggled in the first part of the race and finished comfortably adrift of the top three, but Horner believes there were positive signs in how he performed while under pressure from Perez.
“Alex had a race of two halves,” he said. “The first half he was struggling, and then the second half, I thought he drove well and his pace was good. So we need to understand that with him, and hopefully help him get more comfortable with the car on the heavy fuel, because his pace in the second half of the race was strong.
“He fought very well with Perez, who was the fastest car on the circuit – at that stage three-four tenths quicker than Bottas, who had the freshest tires. So I thought Alex did drive a good race, particularly the second half.”
Albon himself was pleased to have points on the board after colliding with Lewis Hamilton while chasing victory in the opening round at the Red Bull Ring.
“I lacked a bit of pace – the whole weekend I lacked a bit of pace, to be honest,” Albon said. “I just need to check where to find the time, but we think we know it. I’m happy that we’ve got fourth. Obviously it’s good to get some points after last week.
“There’s time to find on my side but we’ve understood the car better this week and I think we know where to improve. With the long straights and types of corner (in Austria) we struggled a little, but I think Max and I both agree on where we can improve the car.”