The Red Bull team have boldly declared that their RB15 was quicker than Ferrari’s SF90 during the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Their statement as backed up by Max Verstappen’s 4th consecutive top-four finish. Once again, the Dutchman was at the forefront of Red Bull’s attack in Baku.
The 21-year old kept Sebastian Vettel honest throughout the race on several occasions. Verstappen only lost touch after Red Bull elected to avoid taking risks. The decision was made especially in the wake of a suspected driveshaft failure on Pierre Gasly’s RB15.
“Our pace compared to Ferrari and Mercedes was strong today,” admitted Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “I think we actually probably had a quicker car than Ferrari today. I think when you look at Pierre, in particular, despite on paper having a horrible weekend where he’s been excluded three times and a DNF, actually his pace has been strong.”
“If you look at his pace versus [Charles] Leclerc, in the second half of the stint he was stronger throughout. I think we lost a little bit too much time behind [Sergio] Perez at the beginning which dropped Max off the back of Sebastian [Vettel] and the Mercedes, but at the end of the stint he was quicker, quite a bit quicker.”
Red Bull boss Horner continued, “So we went a couple of laps longer to give him a better tyre for the second stint, and then for the second stint I think he took ten seconds out of, certainly on Sebastian and closed on the group ahead.”
“Then we had the VSC and we struggled a little bit with getting the warm up going again but after the failure that we’ve seen with Pierre we didn’t want to take too much risk.”
Horner was certainly pleased by the Red Bull pace in Baku, compared to the Ferrari pair. He believes that the performance is a reflection of the gains made by both Red Bull and new engine supplier Honda.