‘Only a big ‘f**k up’ would stop Merc winning title’

Shahida Jacobs


Christian Horner has written off Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s chances of catching Lewis Hamilton and Merc in the battle for the Drivers’ title.

Verstappen breathed fresh air into the championship challenge when he won the German Grand Prix a fortnight ago, leaving the Mercedes driver with a 41-point lead ahead of the Hungarian GP.

However, the reigning World Champion’s turned the tables at the Hungaroring over the weekend and his victory means he heads into the summer break with a handy 62-point lead in the standings.

Asked by Motorsport.com about his team’s chances of winning the title, he replied: “Lewis has close to a three-race advantage with nine races to go, so he would have to not turn up for three races.

“It is hugely unlikely. They [Mercedes] would have to f**k up by gargantuan proportions not to win this championship.

“I think our target in the second half of the year is very much to close that gap. And as we get more performance on the car as Honda continues to make progress, this is very much a building year as we transition into 2020.”

Red Bull made a sluggish start to the 2019 season, something that Horner puts down to the new front-wing regulations, but their form has picked up since the Austrian Grand Prix.

“I think that the regulations change over the winter definitely did hurt us with the way we worked the front wing,” he added.

“But I think as the team have gained more understanding and have been able to use these new regulations better, we have been able to recover balance and characteristics of the car.

“Of course, that was combined with a tyre construction change as well, and those two elements hit us quite hard on the chassis side over the winter.

“But I think definitely we have made really good progress there in the last few months and hopefully with the development we see in the second half of the year, we have got a good vein of development that should continue to develop that.”

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