Horner Makes Bold Red Bull F1 Prediction After Max Verstappen Beat Lewis Hamilton to Pole in France

Published 06/19/2021, 11:13 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 19, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after getting pole position Pool via REUTERS/Nicolas Tucat


Circuit Paul Ricard has been one of Mercedes’ strongest circuits, having led the way from pole onto race wins in both 2018 and 2019.

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However, this year’s script hasn’t played out quite similarly, as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen denied Lewis Hamilton his third straight pole at Le Castellet.

Of course, Red Bull have been the strongest team so far this season. However, Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal, reckoned that the entire crew was certain Mercedes would dominate in France.

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But, with reality playing out entirely different from what was expected, the Briton affirmed that the Milton-Keynes outfit are strong enough to beat Mercedes at any track this year.

What did Christian Horner say?

As reported by Sky Sports F1, Horner acknowledged France has been Mercedes’ stronghold over the years. Hence, he felt that if Red Bull could beat them at Le Castellet, they could beat them anywhere.

This has really been a Mercedes stronghold in recent years,” he said. “If we can beat them here then really we can beat them anywhere.

Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton Pool via REUTERS/Nicolas Tucat

Until Saturday’s qualifying session, Hamilton remained the only driver to stand on the top step over both qualifying and the race between 2018 and 2019.

Their dominance was quite evident, coming into this weekend as well, with Valtteri Bottas constantly showing strong pace.

However, against the odds, Verstappen managed to shine when needed as the Dutchman snatched the pole position from his title rival.

Can Red Bull keep Mercedes behind on Sunday?

Mercedes may have been the slower team on Saturday’s qualifying session. However, it would be absurd to expect the same level of performance from the Brackley outfit on Sunday as well.

Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 18, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during practice REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Both Hamilton and Bottas showed a competitive pace on the long runs during free practice sessions. Hence, Red Bull will be wary of a strong race pace from the Mercedes duo in the race.

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The good news for Red Bull is that they have performed quite well strategically after the blunder-induced outings in Bahrain and Barcelona.

So, can they continue to deliver the much-needed all-round performance to keep Mercedes at bay in France? We’ll know soon enough.

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Rohit Kumar

1139 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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