JULY 25, 2011
Horner Looks Back on Nurburgring
For the first time this season, Red Bull Racing has gone two grands prix without a win after Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso beat Mark Webber across the line at Nurburgring and Sebastian Vettel, in his home race, finished fourth. Team principal Christian Horner offered his thoughts:
Q: Was it a simple case of not being quick enough in Germany?
The pace ebbed and flowed throughout the race. Mark dropped a place to Lewis at the start but we went for the undercut at the first stop and it worked. We tried to do the same again at the second stop but our first sector tyre warm-up was not as strong as McLaren and Ferrari today. Lewis put Mark on the wet ker and was quite aggressive. Then I think Mark was least happy with the third set of tyres, which had the most mileage from qualifying. Third position for Mark, from pole, is not ideal but it's far from a disaster.
Sebastian's spin put a big flat-spot on the tyres but to stop again would have compromised him, then he spent much of the race looking at the back of Felipe Massa's gearbox. A fantastic pit stop under pressure got Seb an extra couple of points and we extended our lead in the constructors' championship and Seb conceded three points in the drivers' championship.
Q: There was a radio message to Seb to do the opposite of Massa at the end, so when Felipe stayed out, whey didn't he come in?
I've no idea!
Q: With McLaren and Ferrari both strong, were you exposed in the race?
It was very different conditions and you are learning all the time about the tyres. The temperatures were cooler than in winter testing and we saw McLaren struggling with the tyres at Silverstone. I think we have been very consistent over 10 races and there's every chance that at the next race it will be 20 degrees hotter.
Q: Do you think McLaren and Ferrari are genuinely closer?
Arguably, they've been closer, it's just that in the past it has tended to be one or the other and here it was both. Operationally, we're strong. I'm sure that we'll see races ebb and flow but we're flat-out in the development race and hopefully we can maintain our consistency.
Q: Was this just a one-off performance drop-off from Sebastian?
In all the other races he's been phenomenal, first or second, so fourth place is not a disaster and those 12 points will be valuable. It's the most uncomfortable he's been in the car all season. It wasn't the best track for him in '09 either but I'm sure he'll come back strongly in a week's time.
Q: What was the braking problem he had?
The left rear was gathering a bit of temperature and also, after his spin, he'd flat-spotted the tyres and put a big vibration into the equation. We wanted to keep him out as long as possible before putting him onto a new set of tyres but we were also mindful of the effects Kimi's vibration had here (in 2005, when Raikkonen's McLaren failed). Later in the race the brakes stabilized.
Q: Massa had a problem at his last stop but yours looked super-quick?
Yes. Somebody mentioned 1.8s, which would have been a world record to end all records. We didn't get it that quick but it was still a phenomenal stop under huge pressure. It was also our 10th double finish of the year and our third race in succession without any KERS issues.