Horner: Turn 6 deficit behind Red Bull's Qatar F1 gap to Mercedes

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes a weakness in one corner was behind the deficit between the team and Mercedes at last week's Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton dominated the Qatar GP weekend to take a second consecutive win, which brought the championship gap with Red Bull's Max Verstappen down to eight points with two races left to run of a hotly contested 2021 world championship.

Verstappen was in for a weekend of "damage limitation" after coming up short in qualifying and being handed a five-place grid penalty, which he executed perfectly by moving back up to second and grabbing the extra point for the fastest lap.

When asked what the difference was between the two rival outfits, Horner believes Red Bull's weakness in Losail's Turn 6 was the main point of deficit to Mercedes, which the Milton Keynes outfit is keen to investigate ahead of next weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

"I think there's one corner that's differentiated us all weekend and it's been Turn 6 ," Horner said about Losail's slowest corner, a tight left-hander.

"We lost two tenths a lap every lap from Friday to Sunday at that corner and I think that's one the things we need to go and understand and where we need to improve."

With its long straights and flat-out sections, the Jeddah street circuit is promising to be a strong track for Mercedes, particularly given Hamilton is set to re-use his fresher power unit introduced to great effect in Sao Paulo.

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin agreed his team primarily made the difference in cornering, after much has been said about its straight-line speed in Brazil.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"In some recent tracks we've been matching Red Bull in the corners and extracting a benefit in the straight-line but in Qatar it ended up being the opposite," the Mercedes director of trackside engineering said in the team's post-race debrief.

"We were matching them in the straight line and finding all our time in the corners.

"Where does that time come from? Well, really there are two areas. One is the downforce that you can get on the car and clearly, our package was working quite well there, helping us generate a lot of apex speed.

"But then also you've got the balance of the car and that's the thing that we tune with the mechanical settings, the springs and bars, also the front wing.

"Our drivers had a balance they were very happy with, they had stability on the way in, they could attack the corner, carry speed and ultimately you saw the demonstration of that with that fantastic lap from Lewis for pole position."

Horner acknowledged the Saudi circuit "should favour Mercedes" but believes Abu Dhabi's reworked Yas Marina Circuit could offer a fascinating title showdown if Hamilton were to also win in Jeddah.

"The next track arguably should favour Mercedes, Abu Dhabi with the modifications made there, who knows?," he added.

"But it's been incredibly tight. So going into these last races, eight points in the lead in the drivers' championship, we've reduced the championship lead in the constructors to five points.

"So, both are fully in play and that's fantastic because we’re now at the climax of this world championship."

shares
comments
Aston Martin headhunts Mercedes aero chief Blandin
Previous article

Aston Martin headhunts Mercedes aero chief Blandin

Next article

Promoted: Inside the Jeddah F1 Corniche street circuit

Promoted: Inside the Jeddah F1 Corniche street circuit
Load comments
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021