ADVERTISEMENT

Horner: British Grand Prix was a very weird race

Christian Horner reflected on the 2024 British Grand Prix and how the balance of power swayed between three teams only for Lewis Hamilton to eventually emerge on top.

Max Verstappen seemed to struggle with his tyres at the start of the race, as Mercedes and McLaren slugged it out at the front, Mercedes having the upper hand, and while McLaren gained the advantage when the rain started, Mercedes seemed to be the overall best performers towards the end on the final stint, and Hamilton duly won.

A late charge from Verstappen saw him close the gap on the Hamilton, but fell a couple of laps short from launching a proper attack on the seven-time Formula 1 Champion.

ADVERTISEMENT

Speaking to the media after the race, including GrandPrix247, Horner reflected on the race at Silverstone and said: “It was a very weird race because on the medium tyre at the start, one would have to say that it looked like Mercedes had the pace and had things under control.

“They seemed to have McLaren covered and we were just falling off the back of that – first of all getting passed by Lando and then getting passed by Piastri. At a certain point, I was starting to think that Carlos Sainz was starting to close down.

“Then, I felt like we got the call onto the Inter bang on,” the Red Bull boss said of the timing of Verstappen’s first pit stop.

“We had a really good outlap from Max – he was five seconds quicker in the middle sector which leapfrogged him ahead of Russell and Piastri, who they hung out for another lap.

“Then the next three or four laps, we were nowhere and it was like that extra lap we had taken out of the tyre had really hurt us. But then it started to calm down and, as the circuit started to move back towards slicks, suddenly Max was the quickest car on the circuit again. He was coming back at both the Mercedes and McLaren ahead – so that was coming our way.

“A great stop and a call to go onto the Hard tyre and Max’s pace thereafter, he was circa half a second a lap quicker in the middle sector, and just kept coming back and back past Lando and with another lap or two,” Horner said of the final race stint to the flag.

“Who knows, he might have passed Lewis. Lots of data and information to take out of that to try and understand there different fluctuations, because at different points in time, different cars looked quick,” he admitted.

It’s all about the tyres

Asked for the reason of this shift in performance from team to team, the Red Bull boss said: “It’s all about tyres.

“It’s all about the tyre working at a certain point in time, a certain condition – whether it’s hot, cold. Different cars are working the tyres in different ways and you saw an extremity of that as the circuit went from damp to wet to back to dry.”

Ever since McLaren and Mercedes closed the gap on Red Bull, it was Verstappen that was making the difference as the RB20 lost its edge to the MCL38 and W15.

But Horner insisted it is so close between Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes now, that all their drivers were pushing to the limit.

“They’re all driving on the limit. If you look at them today [Sunday], they were all driving on the limit,” he pointed out.

“There is stuff that we have in the pipeline that, whilst we are at the top of the curve, there are still gains to be had and inevitably, when it closes, it is down to those marginal fine details that make the difference.

“The form is moving around a bit. Mercedes were strong today, McLaren were strong last week, we won the week before in Barcelona.

“If anybody can explain the pace of their car in today’s [Sunday] race, they would be doing very well because it seems to move around,” the Briton said of the shift in performance between the top three teams.

Red Bull remain at the top of the 2024 F1 Constructors’ Standings, 71 points ahead of Ferrari who are now under pressure from McLaren, only seven points behind in third.

Verstappen extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship over second-placed Lando Norris to 85 points.

(Reporting by Agnes Carlier from Silverstone)