AUGUST 2, 2011
Red Bull's focus is still winning every race
Despite the fact that Red Bull Racing has won just one of the last five F1 races in contrast to mopping up five of the first six, team principal Christian Horner says that the focus is still on winning. He answered media questions after Sebastian Vettel had extended his championship lead with second place in Hungary.
Q: Sebastian said that he's not 100% happy but strengthened his lead in the drivers' championship. What's your feeling?
All things considered, on a day when so much more could have gone wrong than right, to come away second having extended his lead in the championship is a really positive result. The McLarens were quicker at certain stages, we were quicker at other stages and it would have been fascinating if it had been dry to the end after that last stop. We'd elected to take a different strategic route by going on the prime tyre and then it rained. For probably two or three laps the slick was the wrong tyre to be on and 50% of the grid came in for the intermediate. Arguably, for those two laps it was the right thing to do but then the rain stopped. An additional stop for Mark unfortunately cost a podium because he would have run to the end as well.
Q: Was that Mark's decision or the team's?
It's a 50:50 thing. Mark was on the radio saying that it was intermediates and you couldn't disagree with him because you're looking at the pit lane, it's wet and cars going off. You don't know whether the rain is going to get worse or stop. It was right on the cusp and pretty much 50% of the field, Lewis included, followed the same route. Sebastian was asking the same questions and we thought we might as well cover both options, so we left him out and he managed those conditions very well because it's easy to make a mistake.
Q: Was he happy to be left out or was there a bit of discussion going on?
He was relying on our feedback and we asked him to hang on in there. He would possibly have been happier to hear 'Box for inters!' at that stage but then obviously the rain stopped in two minutes and the heat started coming back into the slicks. Quickly the slicks became the tyre to be on and it's the type of call that can go either way. That call could arguably have won Mark the race if it had continued to rain.
Q: What was the radar telling you?
I think the radar at that point is hopeless! You've got to look up into the sky and see where the wind is coming from. We'd been following the radar all day and it wasn't too accurate in picking out what was actually at the track. It was such a fine rain as well.
Q: Drivers were going to run out of option tyres. How long did you think the primes would last?
We decided at the last stop to go to the prime and give it a go to get to the end of the race. Lewis took another set of options that he was looking pretty hard on, so he wouldn't have got to the end, and Jenson took the same strategy as us. We felt that we'd be better on the tyre at the end of the stint but that didn't materialise because the rain came. It was looking like it was going to be a fascinating finish.
Q: Did you think you'd have to manage the primes or did you expect to run a reasonable pace?
We were thinking we could go at a reasonable pace. I think Rosberg was on them at that point looking pretty good.
Q: Sebastian is 85 points ahead with 200 to play for. Is it edging towards him now?
It's tight between three teams at the moment but for Seb to go into the summer break having won six races and had four seconds and a fourth, is a fantastic set of results. There's a long way to go but we've qualified on pole at every single grand prix this year and we're determined to make sure we come out of the blocks quickly after the break, when everyone has recharged.
Q: Seb says you need to respond to McLaren. Do you need to be aggressive or can you adopt a championship mentality?
Our focus is still to turn up and try to win every race. At different stages McLaren was quick and we were quick. We are in the heart of the development push. I think we've learned a lot of lessons over the last couple of weekends that stand us in good stead for the upcoming races.
Q: With the start you've had, do you mind-manage Seb for the run-in?
You could see today that it was a very mature drive. He wants to win, he's focused on winning races and he'll continue to push.
Q: But wouldn't a couple of DNFs change the picture?
Absolutely, but he knows that on days he can't win, to finish second is not a disaster.