Hamilton has “selective memory” over Red Bull’s current F1 dominance — Horner

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Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner has replied to earlier comments made by Lewis Hamilton on the way the championship winning team has been dominating the sport in the current season.

After a particularly tough São Paulo GP for Mercedes a year on from their 1-2 feat at Interlagos, Hamilton had commented on Max Verstappen’s record breaking seventeenth win of the year:

“The Red Bull, I think, is so far away — I think they’re probably going to be very clear for the next couple of years.”

Christian Horner replied to the British driver on the eff won with DRS podcast when asked about his comments stating that the RB19 is the most dominant F1 car ever, stressing how long the Mercedes dominance had been in the past, with the German team winning seven drivers’ championships and eight constructors’ titles in a row, from 2014 to 2021: “I feel like he’s got selective memory.”

Horner’s outrage at the experienced driver’s remarks finds its roots in the several personal records Hamilton has built over the span of his Formula 1 career, as the driver with the most race wins, championships, points and pole positions in the history of the sport:

“You know, some of the winning that they did in that period was just obscene. We’ve had a good run for a couple of years, but the one guy that shouldn’t be saying that, I would think, is Lewis.”

The Team Principal, with Red Bull since they came into the sport in 2005, also discussed the very tight battle the team had against Mercedes in 2021, which secured Verstappen’s first Formula 1 title and the first for the team since Sebastian Vettel’s fourth title in 2013.

“My job is to make sure we’re winning, that’s my job, and 2021 was the biggest fight in the history of the sport.

“It was just heavyweight from the first race to the final in Abu Dhabi, where the two drivers ended up [with the] same points. Unbelievable,” he recalled, with Verstappen winning the unbelievably controversial Abu Dhabi GP on the very last lap after Hamilton had led the rest of the race.

The British boss admitted that the very intense battle, the stress caused by it and the pressure to perform in that year has taken an heavy mental toll on him: “And that year aged me physically!”

The last two seasons have been much more in favour of Verstappen and Red Bull, with a far easier run to the championships and the Dutch driver able to win the title with a number of races to spare, in 2022 in Japan and in 2023 after the Qatar sprint.

Photo credit: Red Bull Racing

However, in Horner’s opinion, the quest for future championships will open up with time, as he believes that the other teams will be able to catch up with the Bulls, thus bringing more of a challenge to the three times World Champion:

“So, the last couple of years have been kind of pleasant that they’ve been slightly less stressful, but what you can guarantee is that the field is going to converge, and it’s only a matter of time”

“And you can already see that happening. You’re going to see the field come much closer, you’re starting to see it,” he added.

Considering the consistently improving pace of the McLarens, with Norris almost overtaking Verstappen during the race in Brazil and Piastri’s Sprint Race victory in Qatar, the ever-present Ferrari threat, in spite of all the issues the Italian Scuderia has been encountering after its race win in Singapore, and the Mercedes drivers, back as well into the podium contention recently aside from Brazil, Horner’s conclusions might not be too far-fetched.

There is no questioning the strength of the RB19, extremely performant on all tyre compounds, reliable in power unit terms and fast almost everywhere, but the gap has been closing as the season has gone on.

“I think that we’ve got a great car, we’ve got a great basis. We need to keep evolving it, but of course, the returns are going to diminish because you’re hitting the top of the curve.

“And you can see it will concertina. It will become closer and that will stretch us more, for sure. But the team are very, very motivated. You can see nobody’s let off since we won the championship. Everybody’s still fully on it.”

Behind Red Bull’s winning streak lies a strong work ethic and an ever increasing strive to perfection, which saw Verstappen and his colleagues even more determined than usual in securing the top spot in Brazil, after Mercedes’s dominant display in 2022:

“You have got to keep improving in all areas. Leaving this race last year hurt, in that our performance wasn’t as strong as we would have liked.“We felt we didn’t get the set-up right, so we learned the lessons from last year and we applied them well, and focused a car on the race. In the end, we came away with a pole, the sprint win and the Grand Prix, with a third and the fourth for Checo, so it’s been a very strong weekend,” he concluded, recalling the perfect bounce back from last year’s shocker.