Red Bull Christian Horner revealed they were satisfied with second place at the Portuguese GP as they were aware that the track would suit Mercedes more. Mercedes locked up the front of the grid in qualifying. During the race, Hamilton overtook Verstappen to win. Mercedes extended their lead over Red Bull at the Portuguese GP in the constructors’ as well as the drivers’ standings. Christian Horner admitted that the difference between the cars was “very very marginal” at Portimao.
“To come out of here with second place, we’ll definitely take that,” added Horner. “I think Max is driving the wheels off the car and it’s super tight between them.”
“We’re racing three, we’re eight points behind in the drivers… it’s nothing. This championship is going to be a marathon rather than a sprint.” he added. “To push them and split them here the way that we have, I think it’s really encouraging. I think next week [at the Spanish GP] will be another litmus test.”
Mercedes have been atop the constructors’ championship since 2018. At the Portuguese GP, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, and Valtteri Bottas were on level pegging before Hamilton overtook both his competitors. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the team was “buzzing” from the tight competition with Red Bull.
“This is just such a great gang to work within Brixworth and in Brackley, they just keep pushing,” Wolff said. “Even when we were behind in winter testing in Bahrain, it’s a buzz that we have not felt in the team since 2013 when we had that first sniff that we could be there.”
“The whole place is excited and continues to be excited and I’d like to be happy after the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi,” he added. “You could hear in his voice how much he was pushing so it was never a situation where he could let go because the gaps were just too short.”