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Singapore a turning point for RB8 performance - Horner

ESPN Staff
September 24, 2012 « Lewis had "made up mind" to leave McLaren - Ecclestone | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
Christian Horner believes Red Bull has closed the gap in performance to McLaren © Sutton Images
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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes his team closed the gap in performance to McLaren at the Singapore Grand Prix and is confident both his drivers are in with a shot at the title.

Sebastian Vettel's victory in Singapore closed the gap to Fernando Alonso in the drivers' standings to 29 points, but McLaren still appeared to have the fastest car with Lewis Hamilton on pole and comfortably leading the race until a gearbox problem forced him to retire. Horner admitted McLaren had been the team to beat at recent races, but thinks Singapore marks a turning point in the development race.

"They've for sure made good progress since Hockenheim and they've brought some good upgrades that appear to have worked well for them. We've got some good stuff in the pipeline and we've been very competitive all weekend here [in Singapore]. Every session bar one we've been quickest, but it was the crucial one in that final qualifying.

"We've got some tracks coming up that will play to the characteristics of our car. We knew the last two races would be tough, we still managed to get a second place in Spa and it was disappointing to get DNFs in Monza. But there are some venues coming up that will play a bit more to our strengths."

Horner said Red Bull would continue to develop the car until the end of the season.

"We've got bits and pieces we're looking to get on the car between now and the end of the season. Of course it's all relevant to next year as well with continuity of the rules. So at every race we will be trying to get a little bit of performance at the different venues, which of course are all totally different. Every race we will try to get something on the car."

And the Red Bull boss believes Vettel is in the form of his career.

"I think he's got the benefit of experience now and I think he's never given up despite having some adversity thrown at him [this season]. I've never seen him as focused going into a grand prix as he was this evening and he executed a very, very impressive race today. For the championship it's wide open, it's just annoying that Fernando keeps popping up on the podium at the end of each grand prix."

Asked if Mark Webber, who is 62 points off Alonso after failing to score a point in Singapore, was still in the title race, Horner said: "Absolutely. You've got to include Mark, you've got to include Jenson. Even Kimi, he isn't that far off, and Lewis. There are six races still to go and 150 points on my maths still available and a lot to play for."