Christian Horner suggests Mercedes is trading reliability for speed after it emerged last weekend that the German team had by far the fastest car. In conversation with Sky Sports F1, the team boss of Red Bull Racing shines his light on the difference.
Since the summer break, Mercedes seems to have found something to outrun Red Bull. Prior to the British Grand Prix, the Austrian team had five victories in a row. After the summer break, the difference between the teams has only narrowed. After the Turkish Grand Prix, where Valtteri Bottas took his first win of the year, Mercedes even seems to have the upper hand again.
“I think their speed on the straights has improved a lot. Normally we could also achieve their speed with less wing. Now we’re not even close anymore,” says Horner. Referring to the difference in Turkey, where Max Verstappen as best Red Bull, had to concede three tenths of a second in qualifying. In the race, the Dutchman was also unable to place an attack on Bottas.
The Red Bull team principal continues: “We saw especially at this track that Lewis Hamilton had a significant advantage on the straights, even with a bigger rear wing on the car.” Despite that advantage, Sergio Pérez was able to fend off Hamilton’s attacks in the race. However, Horner also mainly looks at his own team: “We have to maximize our package and as I said, surprising that Mercedes has made this step with their power source.”
Strange noises from engine
Toto Wolff said earlier that strange noises were coming from the Mercedes engine. Horner said: “You can see with all their teams that they have some reliability issues that they control. It’s unusual for Mercedes, but nevertheless their performance is impressive.”
The Briton does not know whether it is a good choice from Mercedes. “Whether one is at the expense of the other, I don’t know. But if you look at the speeds, it is fifteen to twenty kilometers per hour faster at some points, that is more than a DRS gives you,” concludes Horner.