Red Bull seeks answers on “unraceable” Mercedes speed


Lewis Hamilton’s top speed advantage at Interlagos last weekend helped him pull off a sensational weekend when he came from starting last in the sprint race to winning the grand prix.

The edge he had over Red Bull in particular helped fuel further intrigue from the Milton Keynes-based squad about Mercedes having found some clever way to increase top speed.

It does have suspicions about the Mercedes rear wing flexing, which prompted Max Verstappen to inspect the flaps in parc ferme on Friday after qualifying. This was a breach of the ruled and earned him a 50,000 euro fine.

While there had been some speculation that Red Bull could bring matters to a head with a protest, it elected against doing so at Interlagos.

However, the Milton Keynes-based squad says it wants to gather more analysis and evidence about the situation.

Team boss Christian Horner said: “We won’t be protesting after this race. It is important to understand where the speed has come from.

“Obviously they had a new engine here. They are running Monaco levels of downforce, and when he passed Max he was close to 30km/h quicker on that lap.

“So it is just something that we need to understand. It is down to the FIA to police the sport and to govern it, so we trust in them and their tests and their investigation.”

Horner said Verstappen was powerless in Brazil to do anything about Hamilton because of the straightline speed situation.

“It [the Mercedes] was unraceable,” he said. “We put up as big a defence as we could. Max did his best, he raced hard, but there was just no chance.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing spaks to the media

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing spaks to the media

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

“We have the highs of Mexico and Austin, and now a low here. But it is a tough one having led probably 75% of the race. One week until the next one, so we will brush ourselves down and come back fighting in a week’s time.”

The prospect of a protest over the Mercedes rear wing came on a weekend when tensions between Mercedes and Red Bull escalated in the wake of the DRS exclusion and a controversial moment between Hamilton and Verstappen on track.

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said it was up to Red Bull if it wished to take its concerns further, but was clear that all that mattered to him was his team coming out on top in the end.

“This sport is also about not leaving anyone to gain an advantage,” said Wolff. “If they want to protest, they can. And being sceptical about performance of your competitor is also okay.

“So I have no emotion, neither negative nor positive about it. But the weekend was definitely a rollercoaster ride for us, and that’s why it feels sweeter to win.”

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