Red Bull team principal Christian Horner expects Lewis Hamilton will be hard to beat in next week’s United States Grand Prix but tipped his team to come back strongly at the following two rounds.
Max Verstappen took a two-point lead over Hamilton in last weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix. However Mercedes were the class of the field at Istanbul Park, where Hamilton was confined to a fifth-place finish in part by a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding his allocation of power unit parts.
Mercedes have won five of the last six races at Circuit of the Americas, scene of next weekend’s race. But Horner believes Red Bull will hold the upper hand at the following venues.
“We know the next race in Austin has been a Hamilton stronghold for quite a few years now,” said Horner. “But then Mexico, Brazil hopefully the higher-altitude races tended to be quite strong for us in the past.”
Red Bull have tended to fare better than Mercedes at higher-altitude venues, where the reduced air pressure alters the performance of the cars’ power units and aerodynamics. While most F1 tracks are close to sea level, Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is the highest venue the series visits, at 2,200 metres.
Interlagos in Sao Paulo is the next-highest, at 764 metres. Red Bull won both races at the Red Bull Ring, F1’s third-highest track, earlier this year.
After its trio of races in the Americas, the season will conclude at two new venues – Losail International Circuit and Jeddah Corniche Circuit – and the remodelled Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m really not sure what to expect from the last three,” Horner admitted, joking “we’ll go to church every other Sunday and see what happens.”
“We’ll do our simulation, we’ll do our homework and we’ll do the best job that we can,” he continued. “You do as much research you can into the venues and go from there.
“I think that we’ve got to take it one race at a time. We’ve maximised points at tracks that Mercedes have been incredibly strong at the last three venues. So that’s been a positive.”
Recent winners at next three venues
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