MAY 29, 2012
Christian Horner on Monaco
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner looks back on his team's third successive victory in the Monaco GP, and two out of three for Mark Webber
Q: What are your thoughts about the race?
It was a fantastic team performance and a great drive from Mark. He made a great start then and we'd discussed beforehand whether it would be a one-stop or two-stop race. The idea was to make the supersoft tyres go as far as possible. Mark did a great job of maintaining them and breaking the DRS with Nico, and that got us into a one-stop window. Going as far as lap 29 was beyond our prediction.
Once Rosberg pitted we covered his move, then the others pitted and that freed up Sebastian (Vettel) on the harder tyre.
He then had approximately 10 laps in fresh air and really made that work for him to put in strong times on those new tyres compared to the scrubbed ones the others were on. That enables him to leapfrog Felipe (Massa) and Lewis (Hamilton) and it was mighty close with Fernando (Alonso).
Q: Was it straightforward after that?
We knew the threat of rain was there and it must be the hardest position to be in leading a group around Monaco and it's starting to get slippery and they are all gauging the amount of grip from you. But Mark was in control and drove with great skill and maturity to close out the win for our third consecutive victory in Monaco.
Q: Which one was most special?
The first one was special, the second one was as well and this one feels just as good. Triple winners in Monte Carlo -- you don't do that by luck and Mark joins an elite group of Monaco multiple winners.
Q: Why did Sebastian not show better pace in qualifying?
Seb was comfortable and quick in third practice but made some set-up changes that went the wrong way for qualifying, so we took a strategic decision to go a different route (not putting in a Q3 time to give freedom of tyre choice) and that paid off. In the race he was very competitive. We've learned an awful lot this weekend - the more we get on the tyres the more we understand them.
Q: What about six different winners in the first six races for the first time in F1 history?
It's remarkable that there's been so many winners. Tyres are a factor but there are so many strong drivers as well. Red Bull is the first team to win two races, which is an achievement. F1 is different this year!
Q: What about Mark's future with the team?
Mark's had a great day and he's driving really well, is in great shape and you can see on a day like today that he's absolutely at the top of his game. We have an open and straightforward relationship and it doesn't change.
Q: What about the Ferrari talk?
Why would he want to leave? He's comfortable in the team. We're only at race six and a lot depends on his desire and motivation moving forward. He's doing a great job and we're really happy with him.
Q: Why was Mark so slow after his pit stop?
I think you saw two different strategies. Seb was going flat-out and burning up the tyres while Mark knew he had to make the new tyres last 49 laps without allowing Seb to get too close to the magic 21 second gap he needed to make a pit stop and still lead. The closest he got was 16 seconds.
Q: What's your feeling about the drivers' championship?
It looks immensely tough. Fernando is three points ahead on 76 points and our guys are tied on 73. It's so open and there are six or seven drivers in contention.
Q: And a 38-point lead in the constructors' championship?
That's the result of good teamwork but there's a long way to go in this championship. It's a tough year because of the regulation changes and tyre complexities but we're working well.
Q: Are you concerned about your drivers taking points off each other?
They haven't been yet and they are free to race but Fernando has driven very well and is going to be a key factor all the way through this championship, I believe.
Q: Are you surprised McLaren has dropped back?
It was not a great weekend for them but let's not forget that Pastor Maldonado lapped us two weeks ago in Spain, so it would be foolish to discount teams like McLaren or Ferrari.
Q: Were you concerned about a post-race protest about your floor?
It would have been disappointed if there'd been a protest, and not particularly sporting. We are happy that our car complies and have the FIA's opinion in writing confirming our interpretation.
Q: What do you predict for Canada?
Last year we came within a lap of winning after five or six hours so it would be great to go back and put that right. But horsepower is crucial and it's as different to Monaco as you could possibly get. Who knows how competitive we will be!