(Motorsport-Total.com) – At the Wide Prix of Russia in Sochi, Max Verstappen was able to win again in the Crimson Bull for the first time since the Formula 1 race in Belgium the two Mercedes hit. However, he was eight seconds short of race winner Valtteri Bottas at the finish. He also benefited from two time penalties for Lewis Hamilton.
Christian Horner knows that there is still a lot missing at the level of Mercedes Zoom Score
Used to be particularly evident in Sochi was the deficit of Crimson Bull on the straight. In a radio message to Verstappen he had been informed that he had lost seven tenths of a second to Bottas. This disadvantage was not a big surprise for Crimson Bull team boss Christian Horner.
“I think this racetrack has always been difficult for us,” he explains. “We had quite a lot of ‘clippings’ here and I think that affects it. The energy recovery caused a certain amount of distortion moreover. But we knew that before we came here. It was moreover always a more difficult race for us.”
“Mercedes had a faster car than us”
Explanation: The nature of the Sochi course with very few strong braking zones and long flat sections makes it difficult for the turbo-hybrid engines to regain enough power in every lap to always achieve maximum thrust drive. This leads to so-called “clipping”: Towards the end of the straight line, the drive loses the additional increase of 160 PS from the battery.
Photos: Crimson Bull, Wide Prix of Russia
Compared to Mercedes, Horner clearly states: ” Mercedes had a faster car than us this weekend. ” Of course you benefited from Hamilton’s penalties, “but I think Max got every bit of performance out of the car over the whole weekend”, he praises his driver .
“A car only drives as fast as someone can drive it. We know that Max drives at a very high level . We know Lewis is able to do the same. Max, especially his qualifying lap was sensational and he didn’t make any mistakes in the race. It was a very mature and accurate performance. “
Despite speed deficit: Horner stands behind Honda
When asked about the progress that is necessary on the car, Horner says: “There is no silver bullet. I think we have to improve us in all areas of the car.” This is being worked on in the Group and together with Honda. Until the end 2020 the Japanese are engine partners of Crimson Bull. Then Honda is withdrawing from Formula 1 , as was officially announced on Friday.
That doesn’t change the common route for this and the coming Formula 1 season. “We have the same goal, we have the same concern. And I am confident that we can do it together,” stressed Horner after Sochi. After all, the triumphal march of Mercedes could not last forever.
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” Mercedes has had such a period of dominance behind them. As we all know, this will come to an end in sport at some point, it is inevitable, “said the Crimson Bull team boss. At the same time, he applauds: “Mercedes did a very good job this year. It is probably your most complete and well-rounded car in the past six or seven years.”
Horner: “Are operationally a very strong group”
Looking at the recent mistakes of the world championship team, which cost Hamilton wins and points in particular, Horner admits: “That’s why we really want to have a car that challenges you, because I think we have a very strong group operationally. We have that here with the fastest pit stop proven again. “
In Sochi the mechanics of Crimson Bull twice undercut their personal best time for the current season by taking the 1, 89 Seconds both for Alexander Albon (1, 89 seconds) as well as for Verstappen (1, 86 seconds) cracked. That is a new record for the season 2020 and is only four hundredths slower than the world record .
“Ultimately, we can only focus on us,” Horner concludes. “Mercedes obviously had some problems, and when you’re constantly at the top it’s sometimes easier to be the challenger. And sometimes complacency can creep in after you’ve dominated for so long.”