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Christian Horner

Horner hints at McLaren challenge after Imola fight

Red Bull narrowly prevailed at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as Max Verstappen fended off a challenge from Lando Norris to win the race.

Horner
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has hinted he is expecting a consistent challenge from McLaren after a close finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

McLaren's Lando Norris made a late-race surge and applied pressure to Max Verstappen in the closing laps of the event.

Verstappen fended Norris off and crossed the line seven-tenths of a second ahead of the McLaren driver for the closest finish under green flag conditions since the 2022 race in Jeddah.

Red Bull has dominated the last two F1 campaigns - however Horner has suggested that its quest for the title will be far from a cruise this time around.

“You can’t take anything for granted, we certainly don’t,” Horner told media including RacingNews365.

“We’ve won five out of seven [grands prix] and two out of two sprints and seven out of seven poles, but the margins are fine, very fine.

“In year three of these rules there is always going to be convergence and you can see that, the look of the cars is converging.

“You can see the performance is converging and we are going to see more races like today with very fine margins.”

Circuit-specific pace

McLaren added upgrades to its challenger in Miami two weeks ago, aiding its route to its first grand prix win since 2021.

While Horner is expecting an increased challenge from the Woking-based squad, the Briton suggested recent circuits haven't played to the strengths of Red Bull's RB20.

“I think that arguably over the last couple of races yes [McLaren] have been our main competitor,” he said.

“I’d say they have definitely added performance to their car, the philosophy is very similar to our own, and you know they’ve definitely made a step.

“So, we definitely expect them to be competitive at all circuits, and there are certain circuits that play to our strengths and certain circuits that don’t.

“The last couple have been more, if you like, circuits that haven’t played to the inherent strengths of the car.”

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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