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Horner: Verstappen doesn't mess about

Horner: Verstappen doesn’t mess about

Horner: Verstappen doesn't mess about

Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing’s team boss, praised Max Verstappen who made quick work of Mercedes’ George Russell at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix with a masterful overtake.

While Verstappen was busy fighting McLaren’s Lando Norris for the lead of the race, Russell ambushed both of them with a masterful pass on the outside to take the lead himself.

But the triple Formula 1 Champion did not waste any time and was soon breathing down Russell’s neck, overtaking him with a brilliant move on the outside of Turn 1 on lap three, and went on to win the race.

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Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Horner hailed the performance of his star driver, and his decisive move which was key for achieving Red Bull Racing’s 120th grand prix win.

Horner said: “Max drove a brilliant race and strategically we got it just right. We went for an optimum race time and it paid off.

“We knew McLaren would come back with the overlap on the tyre but we had just enough in hand. The first lap was crucial and the pass on George [Russell] was even more important.

“He is so decisive, he just doesn’t mess about,” the Briton added of Verstappen’s pass. “I think that is one of his key qualities – you know if he is there, he is going to go for it. The other drivers know that.”

Red Bull have been racing lately while continuously looking over their shoulders as McLaren closed the gap lately, and when asked whether his team still have the fastest car, Horner was a bit cryptic.

“I think it’s tight. It is small margins,” he said. “Max and Lando were 18 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. In the end we got the job done and bagged maximum points.

“Since Miami, Lando has probably been the standout competitor and we are going to have to be at the top of our game to win.

“It’s tight – but we keep winning. McLaren are doing a great job, Ferrari aren’t far behind, Mercedes are improving, but we are keeping our noses in front,” Horner maintained.

But while Verstappen has been excelling and making the difference for Red Bull as their rivals continued to ramp up their challenge, Sergio Perez in the other RB20 continues to struggle.

Horner: We need to get Perez more in the mix

Perez qualified eighth in Barcelona, but a three-place grid penalty carried on from Canada for driving a damaged car on track meant he started from 11th. He raced to an eventual eighth.

Reflecting on the Mexican’s race, Horner said: “We put him [Perez] on a three-stop and it worked out. He passed Gasly on the last lap. He will take quite a bit of confidence out of that race.

“Theoretically we said eighth was the best he could do when you look at all the sims and he achieved that. We do need to get him more in the mix,” he revealed.

Asked what Perez needs to do to increase his contribution to Red Bull’s Constructors’ Championship fight, Horner responded: “If I’m not wrong we have scored the most points as a team, so as long as we keep doing that, the constructors’ continues to look healthy.

“Sergio had a great start to the year. We just need him to get back to that form that he had in first four or five races. we know he can do it. It’s just getting him into the right headspace to deliver.”

Horner went on to praise his team’s race execution as they have proven their ability to deliver impeccably in tricky conditions.

“When you are at the front there is nowhere to hide. Everything is scrutinised – every strategy, every start, every pitstop,” he said. “We have done a lot of winning but we haven’t lost that edge of delivering in big moments and getting it right on the day.

“We have tremendous strength in depth in the team, and stability,” the Red Bull boss concluded.