Horner encouraged: We have the basis of a quick car

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen Melbourne DNF. Australia April 2022.

Max Verstappen stands beside his broken down Red Bull after retiring from the Australian Grand Prix. Australia April 2022.

Despite being off the pace in both championships, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has found a silver lining in the cloud that is Max Verstappen’s 2022 season.

And that, quite simply, is that in their RB18 they “have the basis of a quick car”.

Verstappen’s title defence should have begun with three podium finishes, two P2s and a victory to be precise.

Instead it has began with two DNFs and one race win.

The RB18 is without a doubt a fast car, but it is also an unreliable one.

Verstappen has two retirements to his name while his team-mate Sergio Perez has one, leaving Red Bull with a 50 percent finishing rate.

It is one that has cost the team dearly in both championships.

While Verstappen has lost 34 points, Red Bull are down 49 leaving them third in the Constructors’ Championship, 49 points behind Ferrari.

Horner is adamant all is not lost.

“We’re only just over 10 per cent of the way into the championship so there’s still a huge amount to go,” he said as per GPFans.

“The encouraging thing is we have the basis of a quick car.”

The team boss has previously stated that he’d rather “fix a fast car” than try to make a slow one faster.

But it is not just reliability that is costing Red Bull, Ferrari have also made great strides forward this season.

The F1-75 is, at least in the hands of Charles Leclerc, the car to beat with the driver taking two wins, three podiums and three fastest lap points.

Leclerc clinched his most dominant win of the season in Australia where he claimed the grand slam; pole position, fastest lap and the race win.

He won the grand prix by 20 seconds ahead of Perez having previously been leading Verstappen before the Dutchman’s retirement.

The reigning World Champ, though, never once looked to have the pace needed to keep up with the Ferrari driver.

“Ferrari were out of reach,” Horner admitted.

 

“The window that they were in with their tyres, you could just see they weren’t experiencing the problems through blistering that some of the other cars were experiencing, or the graining that we experienced they didn’t have.

“They were just in a happier place, which tends to happen when your balance is more settled.”

 

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