Following a strong showing in qualifying, with P2 and P3 on the grid for Perez and Verstappen and a race win for the Dutchman, Red Bull boss Christian Horner considers 2021 the team’s best start to a season for years.
Even though newly-signed Sergio Perez failed to score any points in the race, Horner considers the team’s performance to be good with the team seven points behind leaders Mercedes, while Max is one point behind Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship.
He said: “Max got a mega start and then braved it out into the first turn, and thereafter controlled the race brilliantly (…) It’s always tough to lose a race like we did in Bahrain and it’s so marginal [with Mercedes].”
“And to come here and get that victory, there’s only one point between the two drivers, a huge distance in this championship still to run”, he added.
Horner continued praising the team’s performance by saying: “It’s by far the best start we’ve had for quite a few years (…) so we just want to keep building the momentum. But it’s fantastic for Honda, their first win since Senna in ’91 here. So we just want to build that momentum and keep that all the way through the year.”
Still, Horner’s optimism was slightly toned down by Hamilton’s performance, recovering to 2nd place after falling to P9 during the race and getting the fastest lap bonus point.
“We’ve got a good car [but] we can see Mercedes are still very, very quick (…) Their [tire degradation] is better than ours – you’ve only got to look at that at end of the stint on the inter and their pace at the end of the race there”, Horner said.
He concluded by saying: “Lewis got the fastest lap by a decent margin. He had the benefit of the DRS but their pace was very, very strong and we’re going to have to go some to really keep them under pressure.”
It is no doubt that the 2021 regulation changes have helped Red Bull keep 2020’s momentum into this season, and with the high-rake cars seemingly favored by them, the Austrian team so far had the best start to the year for a long time.