Horner: Hamilton ‘unraceable’, Mercedes have ‘potent weapon’

Henry Valantine
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen on the podium. Sao Paulo November 2021.

Lewis Hamilton waves the Brazilian flag with Max Verstappen applauding on the podium. Brazil November 2021.

Christian Horner said fighting against Lewis Hamilton’s “unraceable” Mercedes was a tough ask, given the car’s straight-line speed advantage.

Hamilton produced a sterling drive after starting P10 on the grid, fighting his way through the pack and eventually managed to overtake Max Verstappen to earn victory at Interlagos and cut the gap in the World Championship standings to 14 points.

Verstappen confirmed that he and Red Bull continue to have “suspicions” about the legality of Mercedes’ rear wing, given the size of advantage they had in a straight line in Brazil, and the Red Bull team boss said that the speed of their rivals left them with “no chance” in the race, but added that they’ll do all they can to get back on the pace in Qatar next weekend.

“It was unraceable today,” Horner admitted to Sky F1 after the race. “I think we put up as big a defence as we could. Max did his best, he raced hard but there was just no chance today.

“You have the highs of Mexico and Austin, you have – not a low here – but it’s a tough one having led probably 75% of the race. But one week until the next one, we’ll brush ourselves down and come back fighting in a week’s time.”

Hamilton took a five-place grid penalty for having a new Internal Combustion Engine installed in his power unit, and the fresh horsepower appeared to have the desired effect for the Mercedes driver, as he had the fastest car in a straight line all weekend.

With the high-downforce setup in place at Interlagos, Horner added that the advantage Mercedes gained on the straights could prove to be a significant factor in their competitiveness heading into the final three races of the season.

“Their straight-line speed is really impressive [with] that new engine,” said the Red Bull team principal. “They’ve got a Monaco rear wing on here, so it’s very, very impressive.


“Of course, as a driver for Max, he can’t defend against that. If any other driver had to be within 0.4 of a second to get anywhere near an overtake, the Mercedes were here 0.9, a second, and they could be in the braking area at the end of the straight.

“So that’s a very potent weapon with some very fast tracks coming up in the last few races.”


Hamilton narrows Verstappen's lead after epic Brazil battle

Lewis Hamilton has narrowed Max Verstappen's Championship lead to 14 points.