Red Bull could rely on Pierre Gasly to help hold up Lewis Hamilton at the Turkish GP with Max Verstappen having three Honda-powered cars between himself and his title rival.
That’s according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
Verstappen will start the Istanbul Park race from second on the grid with only Valtteri Bottas standing between him and the lead.
His title rival Hamilton is down in 11th place as, while he was fastest in qualifying, the Mercedes driver has a 10-place grid penalty for taking on a new ICE, his fourth of this season.
Between Verstappen and Hamilton there are three cars that could help Verstappen in AlphaTauri’s Gasly in fourth, Sergio Perez in sixth and Yuki Tsunoda in P9.
Gasly, closest to Verstappen, could be Red Bull’s last line of defence.
“Pierre’s performance is remarkable,” Horner said, “he is always in great shape on Saturdays. Hopefully he can get good points in the race too.
“We would of course very much appreciate it if he managed to keep at least one Mercedes behind him.”
Big shout out to Pierre Gasly after a blistering first run in Q3
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 9, 2021
As for Verstappen’s task come Sunday’s race, Horner simply says he needs to stay ahead of Hamilton.
“The best way to beat him is to stay in front,” he continued. “We are fully focused on our race and will try to get the maximum number of points with both cars.
“I hope that we will be closer in the race than in qualifying. They are very fast on a lap, we will see whether they can hold that for a race distance.”
Verstappen heads into Sunday’s grand prix trailing Hamilton by two points.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is hoping his driver can stay up front.
“Obviously it would have been really nice to drive away at the front,” he told RTL.
“If we can’t get past them [Bottas], then we will go for the longer distance and safety to make sure we can defend against Hamilton.”
Marko reckons it is only a matter of time before Hamilton finds “his way back to the front.
“Mercedes’ speed is already very good. We will also have to see what the weather is going to do, because the forecasts have not always been right so far.”