Horner: Red Bull better ‘as a team’ than Mercedes

Jon Wilde
Christian Horner talking to Max Verstappen at the Qatar GP. Lusail November 2021.

Christian Horner talking to Max Verstappen in the Red Bull garage at the Qatar Grand Prix. Lusail November 2021.

Christian Horner believes Red Bull have shown themselves to be better all round “as a team” than Mercedes this season.

With two races of the 22 that comprise the 2021 campaign remaining, Red Bull are still right there with every chance of wrestling the Constructors’ and Drivers’ World Championships away from Mercedes.

Not since 2013, when Red Bull won the last of their four consecutive title doubles, has any team been able to thwart the German powerhouse in either championship.

But Max Verstappen holds an eight-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ standings while Red Bull are poised just five adrift of Mercedes in the Constructors’, so there is everything to play for in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Clearly, therefore, neither team has been able to establish themselves as the dominant force this year, being so evenly matched, yet the Red Bull team principal is perfectly happy to claim his squad have leapfrogged Mercedes to become Formula 1’s number one in 2021.

Asked on Channel 4 if he thought Red Bull are a better team than Mercedes right now, Horner replied: “As a team, yes, I think we are. I think we’ve managed to put this challenge together, we’ve won more races so far.

“We’ve had a bit of bad luck along the way, but who has put Mercedes in this position in the last seven years? They have never been in this position.

“We are just enjoying the fight, the challenge, the competition. If we do manage to pull this off, or even one of [the championships] off, in Abu Dhabi that would, I think, probably be arguably our biggest achievement.”

The main problem for Red Bull heading into the decisive two weekends is that Mercedes have firmly seized the momentum, with two consecutive victories for Hamilton in which his car looked considerably faster than Verstappen’s.

Horner, when asked if Red Bull can still win the titles, said: “I think we can still do it.

“I’m pleased to be going into the last two races ahead because we are in the knockout phase now.

“The circuit in Jeddah will be fascinating – we feel it’s like a high-speed Baku, so that could be interesting.

“I think what we were really encouraged about in Qatar was that the straight-line speed [of Mercedes] was line on line with our car. That’s encouraging for those final two races.”

 

Due to Verstappen’s advantage, a DNF for Hamilton in Saudi Arabia and a top-two finish for the Dutchman would be enough to secure a first Drivers’ title.

Conversely, if Hamilton wins in both Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, Verstappen would be powerless to stop the Briton from securing a record-breaking eighth crown.

 

Horner claims Red Bull are better 'as a team' than Mercedes

Christian Horner feels his Red Bull team work better as a unit than their Mercedes counterparts.