Fresh off Daniel Ricciardo leading home a McLaren one-two at Monza and Lando Norris coming within three laps of victory in Russia, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes McLaren could prove a threat for victories at other circuits between now and the end of the season.
Those two performances came after a difficult weekend for McLaren at Zandvoort, but Horner is wary that Red Bull and Mercedes could still be threatened at other tracks.
“I think they’ve obviously made great progress this year, certain circuits they seem to perform well at and others that are more challenging for them,” Horner said. “Lando Norris deserved to win the race (in Russia) but I’m sure there’ll be some circuits between now and the end of the year that they’ll fare well at.”
While McLaren’s form is up and down, Horner is understandably more focused on how Mercedes and Red Bull will fare relative to each other, and he expects his team to come on strong once Formula 1 heads to the Americas.
“I don’t think there’s any circuits that stand out as strongly as Russia and Monza, but for sure Mercedes will be strong,” he said. “They won in Turkey last year, they’ll be strong there. But then we start going to Austin where we should be there or thereabouts. Brazil, Mexico we’ve always been strong.
“We don’t know anything about Qatar, we don’t know anything about Jeddah, then Abu Dhabi, you could say it’s 50-50 in what’s left on the table in what favors slightly one more team than the other.”
Horner thinks one area Red Bull could receive a boost will be if Lewis Hamilton takes a power unit penalty, following another tactical change from Valtteri Bottas in Russia.
“We’re not privy to that information but, you’d assume the amount of Mercedes engines that are being changed in sister cars and customer teams, you’d maybe expect there to be a penalty,” he said. “But obviously we cant rely on it.”