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Red Bull reflect on ‘brutal’ F1 opener

Nightmare start to 2020 for hopeful title challengers as Verstappen and Albon both DNF; It “feels pretty brutal”, says Horner

By Matt Morlidge

Last Updated: 06/07/20 1:42pm








1:45

Lewis Hamilton was given a five-second penalty for this collision with Alex Albon after the Safety Car restart in Austria

Lewis Hamilton was given a five-second penalty for this collision with Alex Albon after the Safety Car restart in Austria

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has admitted that leaving the Austrian GP empty-handed “feels pretty brutal” after Max Verstappen and Alex Albon both hit problems on a nightmare start to the team’s F1 title quest.

Verstappen was running second before his electrical failure while Albon made contact with Lewis Hamilton when challenging for that position before retiring from the race himself, leaving Red Bull with zero points.

Asked about the positives from Sunday, Horner told Sky F1: “That it’s over.”

While Red Bull, who have been talking up a title challenge throughout F1’s long pre-season, couldn’t match Mercedes’ pace in Austria, Horner believes they had a chance of winning the 2020 opener before those issues.

“[We were] in a position to challenge for victory with both Max early on – because we got the [medium] tyre call right there and he would have had a really positive afternoon – and then for a second time with Alex,” he said.

1:51
An emotional Alex Albon said he needs to cool off before speaking to Lewis Hamilton after the pair came together during the Austrian GP

An emotional Alex Albon said he needs to cool off before speaking to Lewis Hamilton after the pair came together during the Austrian GP

“To come away with zero points in what is going to be a shortened season, feels pretty brutal.”

Horner and Albon were both unhappy with Hamilton for his role in the pivotal Turn Five incident, but Verstappen’s early DNF was arguably more disappointing.

“Mercedes were very quick in that first stint but then they turned the engines down after that first stop,” added Horner. “As soon as they did that they came back to our straight-line speed.

1:18
An unhappy Max Verstappen disappears into the garage as the Red Bull driver returns to the pits, the mechanics try to fix his car but to no avail

An unhappy Max Verstappen disappears into the garage as the Red Bull driver returns to the pits, the mechanics try to fix his car but to no avail

“I think Max on that different strategy could have really played out well for him.

“We’ve got some pace to find this week before next weekend, some work to do, and of course we’ll try and come back in a week’s time and do a bit better.”

The new Formula 1 season is underway in dramatic style on Sky Sports F1 and continues next week with the second race at the Red Bull Ring – the Styrian GP. Find out more & subscribe.

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