- Red Bull
Horner hopes win acts as motivation for Renault
Christian Horner is confident Red Bull's victory at the Canadian Grand Prix will act as motivation for Renault to close the gap in engine performance to Mercedes.
Daniel Ricciardo took the team's first victory of the season, but only after the two Mercedes suffered MGU-K failures, stripping Nico Rosberg of roughly 150bhp and forcing Lewis Hamilton to retire with rear brake failure. Ricciardo managed to capitalise on Mercedes' issues, but Horner said he is under no illusions over the gap in performance the Renault power unit still has to Mercedes.
"Let's not beat about the bush, Mercedes were the quickest cars today and ran into their issues, whatever they were," he said. "We've had issues at other points of the season, but they were very strong this weekend. We've still got work to do, we were 15km/h slower compared to a Force India or Williams on the straight, and that's where we need to improve. But it's great motivation for Renault to get a double podium and the first win of the year, it was a fantastic performance.
"I didn't believe that we could win this race [at the start of the weekend], but the way Dan has driven and made his passing moves this season, he has driven faultlessly all season. He's grabbed his opportunity today and I'm delighted for him today that he's won his first grand prix because it's a wonderful feeling for any driver. It was nice to have Sebastian [Vettel] up on the podium to celebrate with him and it will probably take a day or two for it to sink in."
Vettel had been ahead of Ricciardo until the final pit stops, but Horner said Ricciardo, who pitted a lap later than Vettel and came out ahead, made the difference on his in-lap to the pits.
"Seb reported while he was in traffic that he was in trouble with the tyres and was pushing us to look at strategy. We went for the undercut to get him into a bit of clear air and pitted Dan a lap later. His [Ricciardo's] in-lap was massively impressive, and it was that in-lap that did the damage - the pit stops were within 0.2s of each other - and that's how Dan got the jump on Seb.
"But the really decisive moment for him was his move around the outside of [Sergio] Perez into Turn 2. That's what won him the race today. Even with our DRS open and everything we had against a Mercedes-powered car with our DRS closed, we couldn't make a pass. So Dan was opportunistic and we took a bit of luck with Rosberg's misfortune, but you've got to be there to be in it."
Horner said Red Bull would continue to push in the hope of being able to compete with Mercedes on equal terms.
"You guys were asking at one point 'Can Mercedes win all the races?' and I think I said 'Theoretically they could, but in all probability they wouldn't'. What we've managed to do is keep chipping away, we've managed to improve the car and improve the engine and we were there to capitalise on misfortune for Mercedes today. But we have to keep pushing and closing that gap down because it's still significant."