16 corners around the Losail circuit and Christian Horner believes one, Turn 6, cost Red Bull a shot at the Qatar Grand Prix win.
Red Bull were second best to Mercedes as Formula 1 visited Doha for the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position by an impressive four-tenths ahead of Max Verstappen and raced to an easy win, the Dutchman’s grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags meaning he wasn’t able to fight his title protagonist off the line.
As the race progressed, Verstappen did work his way up to P2 but just didn’t have the pace needed to close the gap on Hamilton to fight for the win.
Horner reckons it was Turn 6, a tight left-hander and the circuit’s slowest corner, that cost Red Bull.
“I think there’s one corner that’s differentiated us all weekend and it’s been Turn 6,” Horner said as per Autosport.
“We lost two tenths a lap every lap from Friday to Sunday at that corner and I think that’s one the things we need to go and understand and where we need to improve.”
Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin agrees.
“In some recent tracks we’ve been matching Red Bull in the corners and extracting a benefit in the straight line,” he said.
“But in Qatar, it ended up being the opposite. We were matching them in the straight line and finding all our time in the corners.”
Verstappen was able to secure the fastest lap point to reduce Hamilton’s gains on the day to six points, the two heading to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix separated by eight in the Dutchman’s favour.
Horner insists it is not over for Verstappen and Red Bull despite the driver losing points two races in a row.
“We’ve been around the world in the last three weekends, and we’ve pretty much finished where we started in terms of the points difference,” said the team boss.
“It’s that close, it’s incredibly close.
“Mercedes has a very quick car at the moment. Before the last two weekends the pendulum was with us, in Austin there was nothing to choose between the two.
“I’m glad to be taking an eight-point advantage into the next race, so we’ve just got to do the best we can. We need to maximise our chances.
“I’ve said from the very beginning of this championship it will go all the way to Abu Dhabi, and I haven’t changed my opinion.”