Red Bull has a lot of work to do in applying the lessons from its dominance in the second race at Silverstone, according to team principal Christian Horner.
Max Verstappen was unable to challenge the two Mercedes cars in the British Grand Prix but inherited second place and nearly took victory due to late punctures for both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. However, in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at the same venue — run on softer tires in hotter conditions — Verstappen was comfortably quickest throughout the race and won from fourth on the grid.
“This car’s put up a little bit of a fight so far, so it’s only been (last Sunday) that we’ve really seen the performance we believe that it is capable of,” Horner said. “And so for us it’s very important we understand why has it performed so well — the corners we were weak in on Saturday was no issue at all (in the race).
“The wind was a little bit less, temperatures pretty similar to the last couple of days and (previous) weekend. Tire pressures were slightly different because of the problems that Pirelli had last weekend. It’s important for us to take away this data, analyze and understand it.
“We’re definitely underperforming on Saturdays where we’re fighting over tenths of a second with Racing Points and Renaults, then we were lapping them in the race, so there’s a big delta and we’ve seen a bit of a pattern of that across the first four or five races.
“We’ve got a lot to understand but it’s really encouraging to have this performance and rewards all the hard work that is going in.”
Despite the optimism that comes from Verstappen’s win, Horner says it will take a few more races to be able to judge if Red Bull has made a breakthrough with its car or if it was simply helped by the softer compounds used at Silverstone for the second event.
“Difficult to say, really. Merc underperformed compared to the last few events, so I think it will be a few more races before we have a clearer picture on that.
“Definitely going softer (helped), but then two of those compounds we used (the previous) weekend and Mercedes looked pretty dominant. I think Barcelona will be pretty hot next weekend so we’ll see, but certainly from an interest point of view it was much more exciting to be doing a two-stop than a one-stop — it puts more variance into the strategy.”