Horner: Red Bull can beat Mercedes anywhere if it wins at Paul Ricard

Christian Horner believes that Red Bull will be able to beat Mercedes anywhere if it can win Sunday’s Formula 1 French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard.

Horner: Red Bull can beat Mercedes anywhere if it wins at Paul Ricard

Max Verstappen scored his second pole of the 2021 season in qualifying at Paul Ricard on Saturday, edging out Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the end of Q3.

The result marked the first non-Mercedes pole since F1 returned to Paul Ricard, with the track having traditionally been one of the German team’s strongest on the calendar.

Red Bull has won the last two races in Monaco and Baku, but as these were on street circuits, the team remained unsure about how it compared to Mercedes for outright pace.

Red Bull F1 boss Horner felt the fact the team had taken pole on a more typical track such as Paul Ricard was encouraging, and that a repeat in the race would give confidence of being able to beat Mercedes anywhere.

“It certainly gives us more confidence, let’s see how tomorrow goes,” Horner said on Sky Sports F1 after qualifying.

“This circuit, it’s been such a stronghold for Mercedes over the recent years. If we can beat them here, then really we can beat them anywhere.

“So there’s a lot at stake. But the whole team is working incredibly well, working long hours. It’s difficult this year because you’ve got the current car, you’ve got next year’s car, you’ve got the cost cap and everything else going on.

“But as a unit, to see the whole team coming together as it is and putting this pressure on Mercedes is phenomenal.”

Polesitter Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in Parc Ferme

Polesitter Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Red Bull currently leads the constructors’ championship by 26 points, while Verstappen sits four points clear of Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ standings.

Hamilton said after qualifying that he thought Red Bull had “eked a little bit further forwards” since the last race on a permanent track in Spain six weeks ago. 

Verstappen finished a distant fourth in the last grand prix at Paul Ricard, crossing the line 34 seconds off race winner Hamilton.

“I knew it was going to be better than the last time we were here, but this good, I didn’t expect,” Verstappen said.

“So that’s promising for us. We just have to keep on going, keep on pushing to try to make it better.”

shares
comments

Related video

Archive: When the French GP almost produced F1's greatest shock

Previous article

Archive: When the French GP almost produced F1's greatest shock

Next article

Alonso: Lack of trend makes finding race pace answer hard

Alonso: Lack of trend makes finding race pace answer hard
Load comments
How Ferrari has brought the best from F1’s smooth operator Plus

How Ferrari has brought the best from F1’s smooth operator

As a young boy, Carlos Sainz was schooled by his father in the special folklore surrounding Ferrari in Formula 1. Now an established grand prix ace – and a Ferrari driver to boot – Sainz opens up to BEN ANDERSON about driving for the team of his childhood hero, and of his own boyhood dreams

How Hungarian GP thriller sounded alarm bell for F1 2022 cars Plus

How Hungarian GP thriller sounded alarm bell for F1 2022 cars

OPINION: The 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix may not have been a thrill-a-minute overtaking fest, but it's a race that will live long in the memory as one of the best of the current era of Formula 1. And as F1 moves to regulations in 2022 aimed at boosting overtaking, Hungary showed the balance it must strike with its new machinery as not to deny similarly tense spectacles

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1? Plus

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1?

OPINION: Different perspectives had Lewis Hamilton’s solo second standing start in Formula 1’s 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix as fabulous or farcical. But did it make the championship appear too silly for the sake of a moment of high-charged sporting drama?

Formula 1
Aug 4, 2021
Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver Plus

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be the making of F1's most overlooked driver

The chaotic start to the Hungarian GP set the scene for F1's less heralded drivers to make a name for themselves. Esteban Ocon did just that to win in fine style, but further down the order one driver was making his first visit to the points and - while the circumstances were fortunate - took full advantage of the chance presented to him

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2021
Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph Plus

The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021