Red Bull: Hamilton's new F1 engine worth "couple of tenths"

Red Bull believes that Lewis Hamilton’s fresh engine is worth a few tenths at Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix – but it remains confident about its chances for the race.

Hamilton proved dominant in Friday’s qualifying session at Interlagos as he secured pole position for Saturday’s sprint, ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

But while a fresh engine has given Hamilton some extra power for the qualifying days, it does mean he takes a five-place grid drop for the grand prix on Sunday.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckons the margin between Hamilton and his third fastest teammate Valtteri Bottas can be explained by the new power unit – and shows the gains that have been unleashed.

Speaking to Sky before both Hamilton and Verstappen were put under investigation by the stewards, Horner said: “That fresh engine's obviously pumping out some horsepower for him. So I think second was the best that we could hope for. So to be up there on the front row, we're okay with that.”

Asked how much the new engine was worth, Horner said: “It's difficult for us to be able to predict that, but if you look at the relative speed compared to Valtteri, it's a couple of tenths. So that's obviously why they've chosen to take it here.”

Despite feeling Hamilton has a power advantage, Horner said Red Bull was pretty happy with the performance of its car – and felt there remained a good opportunity for Verstappen because of Hamilton’s grid drop.

“I think we've got a good race car,” he said. “It's going to get hotter through the weekend. The tyres are going to be a factor here. It was even pretty cool today, but let's see in the race tomorrow.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko reckoned that the 0.4 seconds margin between Hamilton and Verstappen was not representative of their true pace.

“Max didn't have an optimal lap, so the real gap is two tenths,” he said. “Nevertheless that is big enough for this circuit with the short lap times.

“Normally our race speed is better than qualifying, and that is the hope for tomorrow. And it will also be a tyre thing. Does the medium hold up when you fully attack? Being on the front row is actually satisfying, but the gap is something we were not happy about. But nothing is lost yet. If we can finish like this, we'll start the race from pole position. We couldn't expect anything more right now.”

Although Verstappen was struggling to look after his front tyres in the cool conditions on Friday, Horner believes higher temps for the remainder of the weekend will shift the focus to the rears.

“I think that the race will be a different set of circumstances,” he said. “We've talked about the front axle, but it'll probably be about the rear axle in the [sprint] race tomorrow and particularly on Sunday with a hotter temperature. So I actually think we've got a quite a decent racecar here. So let's see.”

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

The key issues behind the Hamilton/Verstappen F1 investigations
Previous article

The key issues behind the Hamilton/Verstappen F1 investigations

Next article

Mercedes F1 engine reliability concerns a legacy of 2019 Ferrari fight

Mercedes F1 engine reliability concerns a legacy of 2019 Ferrari fight
Load comments
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
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