Christian Horner happy to be battling Ferrari instead of Mercedes

Red Bull Racing have taken nine victories in 2022.

The 2022 championship battle between Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari has been “refreshing” to watch, with Mercedes having dominated since 2014.

The racing has been “close and hard, but fair”, between title protagonists Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, unlike the battle seen between Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton.

2021 saw a title fight like no other, with the Dutchman and the Brit having pushed each other harder than either would have potentially ever experienced.

This led to both at times driving over the limit, with the duo having collided on a number of occasions.

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The pair forced each other into retirement at the Italian Grand Prix last season, with Verstappen’s car mounting Hamilton’s at the Variante chicane after the Dutchman was launched over a sausage kerb.

The fighting not only happened on track but also off it, with Toto Wolff and Christian Horner having come to blows on a regular basis.

This season hasn’t seen any of that, mainly due to Mercedes being well out of the picture for the time being.

The Red Bull boss has found the new battle with Ferrari “great”, which comes as no surprise given the Austrian team have a 97-point lead in the Constructors’ Championship.

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“It’s very different,” Horner told GPFans.

“It’s about what’s going on on-track rather than off-track. That’s refreshing.

“It’s always great to be racing Ferrari. They’re an iconic brand, an iconic team.

“I think that the racing between Charles [Leclerc] and Max so far has been outstanding, and it’s been close and hard, but fair.”

Verstappen has won eight races so far this season and has amounted an 80-point lead in the standings over Leclerc, with just nine races remaining.

Whilst Mercedes won the 2021 Constructors’ crown, Verstappen ended the Silver Arrows eight-year dominance of the Drivers’ Championship.

Despite the magnitude of this achievement, Horner revealed that he didn’t enjoy the “heavyweight” clash with the German team.

“Not really,” Horner admitted when asked if he felt a perverse pleasure beating Mercedes last year.

“It was frustrating that there was an awful lot going on behind the scenes, and of course, as we were establishing new power trains business as well, that only heightened the tension.

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“It felt like a heavyweight fight obviously last year throughout.

“Mercedes hadn’t been challenged previously, they’d never been beaten in eight years and they obviously didn’t like it.

“It was a tough season, it was a gruelling season, but it just demonstrates that anything in life is possible if you apply yourself and you want it bad enough.”