Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco

Vital to capitalise on “rare off-day” for Mercedes – Horner

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said it was vital they out-scored Mercedes on a sub-par weekend for the world champions in Monaco.

Max Verstappen’s victory moved him to the top of the points standings after five races. Sergio Perez’s fourth place meant Red Bull also took the lead of the constructors championship, as Lewis Hamilton was Mercedes’ only points-scorer in seventh.

“It was important to take our chances here,” said Horner. “Mercedes had a rare off day and it was important to convert that. So as a team, we’ve done that.

“We leave here leading both championships for the first time in the hybrid era so that’s really encouraging. We know nobody’s getting carried away, there’s still an awfully long way to go in this championship, [but] to be as close as we are, at this stage, is very encouraging.”

Verstappen qualified second for the race but effectively inherited pole position when Charles Leclerc was unable to start. Ferrari discovered a technical problem on his car which had been repaired following Leclerc’s crash in practice.

“You’ve got to feel for them a bit,” said Horner. “Obviously they made a calculated risk and it didn’t pay off.”

Leclerc’s crash prevented Verstappen from being able to complete his final flying lap in qualifying.

“Max was disappointed yesterday,” said Horner, “we didn’t get to see what that lap could have delivered. But he dealt with his frustration well and came out today and when the opportunity presented itself, he took it with both hands.

“Also today Checo drove a very, very strong race. So a great performance from him as well.”

Verstappen kept his lead at the start and was never seriously threatened during the 78-lap race.

“Max benefited from, obviously, Charles’ misfortune so it’s bad luck for them today,” said Horner. “But Max really took control of the race from the start and literally controlled the whole afternoon. He was quick when he needed to be, was looking after his tyres very well and [did] a phenomenal performance.”

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2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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16 comments on “Vital to capitalise on “rare off-day” for Mercedes – Horner”

  1. I believe Verstappen still able to consistently up in the 1-2-3 podiums after that wing’s normalization, while a few more off-day from Hamilton his championship quest will be gone. Don’t forget Mercedes has the rear stability handing issue so certain track they will suffer more than Red Bull.

  2. Well, yeah, Chris. It was vital to capitalize on Valtteri’s bad luck and Lew’s poor driving. But you didn’t. You gifted the FLAP point when Checo had a free pitstop and it was his to take. Shame. Hope you won’t be needinfg that wretched point at the end of the season.

    1. Well, they did capitalize mostly but I did indeed also wonder about why they didn’t go for the FLAP with Perez.

      1. There was a chance of getting 3 extra points by overtaking Norris. But only 1 for getting the Flap (2 if you consider stealing the point from Lewis also as 1 point).

        1. I see your point, but the chance to overtake Lando was close to zero and the FLAP was pretty much a sure thing

          1. Except for the risk of having a disastrous pit stop.

          2. A sure thing? Didn’t Hamilton have a faster qualifying lap than Perez?

          3. I found it fun when they gave a projection for perez catching up with norris within 3 laps despite being like 4-5 seconds off, and overtake difficulty had like 18 out of 20 tiles, normally it’s very low, but not here!

  3. *face-palming * indeed.
    So the narrative when Mercedes and Lewis fail this season will be red bull cheating.
    Poor delusional fans.

    1. He’s already established the narrative – Lewis didn’t fail today. He had a “flawless weekend” but Mercedes messed it up. :D

  4. “Max was disappointed yesterday,” said Horner, “we didn’t get to see what that lap could have delivered. But he dealt with his frustration well

    It’s actually the beep guy who dealt well with Max’ frustration ;)

    Reply moderated
  5. For Mercedes, the difference between a Red Bull challenge and a Ferrari challenge is that Red Bull still have a team who remember winning championships. Ferrari’s last one was 2007 and arguably that was gifted to them by a self-imploding McLaren team. Red Bull also tend to stay level or improve over a season. Still expect to Mercedes to improve more as they have more to catch up on (speed taken away by this years regulation changes). But Red Bull and Verstappen will be there to the end. Mercedes will need to readjust to face off this challenge, it’s going to be their toughest in the hybrid era.

  6. If they lose their rear wing because it flexes, will Mercedes also lose their front wing?

    Because really, what’s the difference? They’ve both passed the test, and both are bending a lot.

    1. Indeed, I was closing watching the nose cam shots on Bottas’ car all weekend and the Mercedes front wing is equally as bendy as the Red Bull’s rear wing.

      FYI – I’m a fan of Bottas, so everyone can save their comments about bias etc…

  7. That’s like saying speeding is legal if the cop’s radar gun has a glitch. The rule is don’t speed. DAS isn’t a great comparison because that was 1. An interpretive issue not a question of measurement/enforcement and 2. Mercedes came clean to FIA even before they ran it.

    (Also, racefans, can we separate the report and reply buttons or are my fingers particularly fat?)

  8. Come on Sergio we are counting on you…!

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