Christian Horner believes Red Bull needs to make sure it beats Mercedes in the Monaco Grand Prix after losing out in three of the opening four events so far.
Max Verstappen was on pole position in Bahrain but was beaten by Lewis Hamilton in an extremely close race. Although Verstappen bounced back to win in Imola, it followed a pair of runner-up results to the defending champion in each of the last two races. With the qualifying battle incredibly close so far this season, Horner admits coming out the right side of that is imperative to Red Bull this coming weekend.
“I think Monaco hopefully we should be competitive,” Horner said. “I think every grand prix this year but Bahrain, there’s been less than a tenth of a second between ourselves and the pole position, so it’s been phenomenally close. And, you know Monaco, we need to make sure we beat Mercedes in Monte Carlo but we know that that will be incredibly tough.”
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Although Red Bull looked the stronger team in testing and at the first race, Horner admits the results from Mercedes don’t come as a surprise given how small of a sample size that was, and he expects the development race to prove pivotal this year.
“Testing was a three day test, Mercedes didn’t show their true potential at that test and from Bahrain they’ve been right there, particularly on race pace,” he said.
“Of course, it is going to be about developing and developing efficiently. Developing within the constraints of obviously designing a new car for next year as well, so that poses its own challenge and of course a 23-race calendar is a marathon season. We need to make sure that we’re there for the second half, so that’s generally where we’ve been stronger.
“I think the team is doing a great job at the moment and the thing that really stands out to me is the way that the whole team has worked tremendously well through the COVID period.
“The fact that we’ve managed to probably out-develop all other teams from our starting point last year with adopting to these new regulations, I think, is testimony to the team work that is going on back in Milton Keynes in obviously what’s been trying conditions for everybody. So we obviously need to continue to develop this car but also have to be mindful that there is a completely new generation of car coming for 2022.”