Christian Horner explains why rivals are quickly closing the gap on Red Bull

The gap between Max Verstappen and the runners-up keeps on shortening every race day.

Christian Horner explains why rivals are quickly closing the gap on Red Bull

Red Bull's Christian Horner (via IMAGO)

The Red Bull team has been dominating the grid ever since the beginning of this season. The team has emerged victorious in 17 out of the 18 races held. The team is comfortably sitting at a lead of 362 points from the runner-up team, Mercedes [at 344 points]. But following the qualifying at COTA GP, the difference in lap times of the racers at Red Bull and others has been reducing every race week.

After the two racers started P6 and P9 at the Sunday race, Christian Horner knew it was going to be a difficult race. Later in the race, Max Verstappen was facing braking issues with the car. Due to this, he was tackling the corners at a very low speed. This further enabled Lewis Hamilton to close the gap between him and Verstappen. Despite Lewis Hamilton gaining quickly, Verstappen held the gap by two seconds.

In lieu of Mercedes currently updating their car for better late-season results, Horner added that the team has not brought updates to the current RB19 since the summer break. He also claimed that the team is now working for next year’s RB20.

Christian Horner said:

We have not developed the car at all since the summer break, while others do come with updates for their cars. But of course, our focus is now entirely on the car for next year.

This is also a reason for the teams being able to close the gap on Red Bull in recent races.

The Red Bull’s tire strategy worked in favor of the team

The tire strategy was very important for the race on Sunday. Due to the higher temperatures in Austin, it was difficult to predict the best tire strategy for better results. Verstappen was the first to adopt a two-stop strategy on the mediums. This would make it difficult for Verstappen in the later stages of the race.

Oracle Red Bull Racing during US GP
Oracle Red Bull Racing during US GP (via GP Blog)

This was evident from the closing gap between Verstappen and the runner-up, Lewis Hamilton. Although Mercedes wanted to try a single-stop strategy, they switched up the tire stints and provided close competition to Red Bull in the front line. Even Lando Norris was going for a two-stop-hards strategy. This led to Verstappen adopting the decided strategy.

Horner also commented on the strategy. He said that according to the simulator, the RB19 favored the two-stop strategy the best. The boss said that the team had very little discussion about the strategy during the second stop, which led to late-race calls and caused a moment of uncertainty in the team.

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