Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Red Bull’s Belgian GP dominance on a par with 2010-13 form – Horner

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s performance in the Belgian Grand Prix was on a par with the team’s peak dominance when it won a string of world championships between 2010 and 2013, said Christian Horner.

Max Verstappen won today’s race despite starting from 14th on the grid. He had been fastest in qualifying by six-tenths of a second but was moved towards the rear of the field due to a penalty for exceeding his limit of power unit components.

Sergio Perez completed a one-two for the team in second place. Carlos Sainz Jnr, who inherited pole position for Ferrari, finished 26 seconds adrift of Verstappen.

Red Bull expected the Spa-Francorchamps to suit the RB18, but nonetheless their performance was even stronger than they expected, said Horner.

“I think the circuit played to our strengths,” he said. “We’ve got a very efficient car, we’ve found a very good set-up. Max has just been in phenomenal form since the very first lap in [practice].

“Obviously, strategically, we took we chose to take the [power unit] penalty here and 14th became the 13th, technically, starting point with every everybody else so many penalties being taken. But of course Max still had to navigate his way through the pack and he did that very efficiently over the first couple of laps.”

Verstappen “hit the front far quicker than we could have ever expected”, Horner admitted after the team decided to start the race on the soft tyre compound.

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“The soft tyre seemed to work for him very well as well in that first stint. So thereafter the pace that we had with both Max and Checo was enough to easily pass Carlos and bring home probably one of the most dominant performances that we’ve had as a team since 2010 or 2013. I think it’s right up there with that period.

“I don’t think we’ve ever won a race starting from 14th on the grid. So as I say, a phenomenal performance.”

“A lot of credit has to go into the people behind the scenes,” Horner added. “Because what you see here is obviously the end product and the drivers obviously having to optimise that to the best, but it’s what goes on behind the scenes and all the unsung heroes back in Milton Keynes that are doing a tremendous job with this car.”

The speed with which Verstappen reached the front of the field far exceeded Red Bull’s pre-race expectations, said Horner.

“It’s always difficult when you look at pre-race plots and so on, it looked like by the last pit stop we could be somewhere around the podium. But to be fighting for the lead by lap 18 was beyond any of our predictions.

“Max was extremely confident going into the race. We chose to start on the soft tyre despite the temperature being a lot hotter and what we didn’t know was how that would affect the relative performance of the car because it was 10, 15 degrees at least hotter than yesterday and we know how sensitive these tyres are. So it’s always difficult to anticipate but the performance advantage we saw in qualifying carried through into the race.”

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2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Red Bull’s Belgian GP dominance on a par with 2010-13 form – Horner”

  1. More so on par with 2011 & ’13, but I suddenly started envisioning a possibility of Max pulling a Seb 2013 post-summer break form by winning all remaining races (including Brazil Sprint), which would mean 11 consecutive wins at the season’s end as he’s now on a 3-race winning streak.
    Unlikely, but not impossible especially if RBR’s Belgian GP form remains until the end.

    1. I do think they won’t be quite as clear ahead of everyone else for other tracks @jerejj, but it’s certainly quite likely they will have a real chance at it.

    2. After all, if you think about it, it always felt like he was favourite to win both here and in hungary starting that far back, I think even with a proper leclerc strategy in hungary, the fact he was 5 sec behind after leclerc had got past russell indicates verstappen was a serious threat already.

  2. Well, mercedes now replaced by RBR.
    Same show, different names..

    Thank you Ferrari..

    Same kind of races.. :(

  3. Mid season reg changes included.

  4. From Red Bull domination to Mercedes and now back to Red Bull.

    And Ferrari? Nothing since that very strange WDC with Raikkonen that felt more like a deal being done than anything else.

    Mclaren and Williams are far from the glory of the past, but Ferrari will always find some team to do a better job than they do.

  5. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    28th August 2022, 21:12

    Very much 2013 vibes, fun start to the season followed by complete and utter domination.
    450 Points+ is very much achievable by Verstappen.

    1. Everyone wanted Mercedes to do badly, they got what they wanted.

  6. Agreed. I had to laugh at the idea of Ferrari all of sudden being faster than RBR at Zandvoort as its a higher downforce track – pretty sure Hungary is too and Max managed to win from 10th…

    Newey strikes again when there’s an aero rule change. I’m not surprised at all, although I am surprised that the Red Bulls are quick in a straight line as well as being quick through the corners. Their modus operandi has usually been to be really quick in the corners and slower down the straights.

    Newey deserves to be the real story of 2022 – 5 decades of innovation in F1, from the March 881 with its innovative aero design (which was copied throughout the field afterwards), the dominant FW14/14B, the dominant years which followed with the FW15, 16, 18, 19, the resurgence of McLaren in ’98/99, the fastest car of 2005 despite not taking the title, and bringing a genuinely new team in RBR (remember sadly how bad Jaguar was?) to competitiveness in 2009 and domination from 2010-13, staying competitive despite second rate powertrains through most of the hybrid era with opportunistic wins and finally a WDC in 2021 (and scaring the Mercedes board so much that it vetoed a rumored agreement Lauda and Horner made for MB engines to RBR) before back to total domination again this year.

    He’s the real GOAT of F1.

    1. @clay I think Newey previously optimised for corners because the Renault PU was always short on power compared to their rivals—so compromising corners to have a competitive straight-line speed would be less effective than sacrificing the top speed they aren’t competitive on to maximise the corners.

      I think RB/Newey knew early on that Honda had finally figured the regs out and have one of the most powerful PUs on the grid. Great opportunity to maximise that potential further by making a slippery car to get past on the straights.

      But yes, it takes Newey’s genius to still maintain good cornering downforce when optimising for straight-line speed.

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