Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has suggested that Mercedes may be able to involve themselves in the battle between Ferrari and Red Bull at the British Grand Prix.
The Silver Arrows have seemed to get a better handling of the rough-riding car that has cost them performance and made for a hugely uncomfortable experience so far in 2022 for Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
Toto Wolff said after Hamilton finished third ahead of fourth-placed Russell in Canada that the pace of the W13 was very close to that. Of the front runners on Sunday, and their experience on the straight improved despite the bumpy track surface.
The asphalt at Silverstone is notoriously smoother than at the last three rounds in Monaco, Baku and Montreal, so Horner reckons that the German side could find themselves in the fight next weekend.
“Mercedes’ pace in the race today [in Canada] was, you know, they were competitive. Smooth circuit [at Silverstone], they could be a factor,” he told the F1 Nation Podcast.
The Briton also acknowledged that the high-speed corners in Northamptonshire could play into the hands of Ferrari.
“We know the Ferrari’s good in the high-speed stuff, we saw that in Barcelona, so you’d think it would swing perhaps back towards Ferrari’s domain,” added Horner.
“We knew Azerbaijan and this race were tracks that might favour us. And we’ve nailed those two results, which I’m really delighted with.”
Max Verstappen has won five of the last six races for Red Bull, with Sergio Perez taking the other one amid wretched fortune for the Scuderia of late, so the Dutchman enters Silverstone this year in fine form.
He might have been in contention for the victory in 2021 had it not been for a nasty collision with Hamilton on the opening lap that sent him flying into the barrier.
Horner anticipates another raucous crowd in Britain this year, and hopes to get the all-important victory this time.
“It’s always a thrill to race at Silverstone. It’s our local race, we’re only 15 minutes up the road,” he added.
“I’m sure there’s going to be huge support for Lewis and George and Lando.
“But, you know, we’re going there leading both championships, as we did last year, but just hoping for a little bit of a better end result than what we got.”
Red Bull enter round 10 of the season 76 points clear of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Standings, with Verstappen leading Perez by 46 points.
Charles Leclerc has not picked up a win since Melbourne in April, and finds himself a further three points adrift of the Mexican, while Carlos Sainz still awaits his first F1 victory having pushed Verstappen hard towards the end of the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard continues to sit fifth in the Drivers’ Standings behind Russell who, along with Hamilton, will be aiming to get both Mercedes cars on the podium in front of their home crowd.