Friday, 22 June, 2018

Christian Horner slams 'rushed' 2019 F1 regulation changes

Max VerstappenĀ arrives in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix following a tough start to the season. David Ramos  Getty Images Max VerstappenĀ arrives in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix following a tough start to the season. David Ramos Getty Images
Lucia Summers | 12 May, 2018, 17:37

While this team have made it an article of faith to let their drivers tussle wheel-to-wheel, a litany of misjudgments, with Verstappen failing to complete any of the first four races, has tested their patience.

For Red Bull, deprived of the "happy hour" power boost that has tended to bring Ferrari and Mercedes significant performance improvement at their expense in qualifying, the dilemma is particularly acute.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has criticised the 2019 F1 aerodynamic model.

Daniel Ricciardo took up second place after the Red Bull mechanics had spent lunch repairing the damage to his RB14 after running off into the barriers during the morning session.

Red Bull showed they should be a real threat this weekend by staying right behind the Silver Arrow of Hamilton - but it seems there's plenty of work to do for Ferrari, especially on Raikkonen's auto. On the track, their styles differ - Ricciardo more a thinker, Verstappen a spur-of-the-moment doer - but both are terrific overtakers, and to remove that from their armoury could dramatically impact on their popularity.

"You always want to know where you are by going as fast as you can".

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With no notable improvement from Red Bull, either, it left a bit of a mystery as to who held the advantage on one-lap pace. Verstappen also ran wide in turn 8 on his qualifying run, although he did manage to improve to third fastest. But he finished with the second-quickest time in the afternoon, behind Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and just ahead of Verstappen. As Ricciardo tried to force his way past Verstappen at the end of the front straightaway, Verstappen closed up and Ricciardo couldn't avoid the collision. Unusually for Friday's second practice session, drivers were quickest on a variety of compounds when usually the softest is used, but the comparison of the top two was simple enough as Daniel Ricciardo was just 0.133s adrift of Hamilton and also on the soft tire.

Ricciardo, a victor in China last month, said it was not just about the drivers, however. "A lot of things we talked about". "But maybe I should have".

The crash left Ricciardo fifth in the drivers' standings, while Verstappen dropped to eighth.

Verstappen recorded his first grand prix victory here in Spain on his debut for Red Bull in 2016 with a superlative drive that confirmed the talent the team had identified when promoting him from sister squad Toro Rosso, but two years on he still has considerable fine honing to do.

"However, in future we will tell the race engineers that they will have to intervene when we see that it could escalate again".

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