Horner: Monza "whitewash" proves Mercedes still best engine

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says the Mercedes "whitewash" at the Italian Grand Prix proves beyond all doubt that the German car manufacturer still has the best engine in Formula 1.

Horner: Monza "whitewash" proves Mercedes still best engine
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
 Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13 with a damaged tyre
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, front puncture
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team Team VF-17

Works duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas crushed the opposition at Monza, as they finished more than 30 seconds clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Beyond the Silver Arrows, four other cars in the top ten were powered by Mercedes – with double points finishes for customer teams Force India and Williams.

Red Bull's own hopes of a podium finish were dashed by Renault engine change penalties early in the week, but even so Daniel Ricciardo was able to charge from the back of the grid to finish fourth.

Horner thinks, however, there would have been nothing his team could have done to challenge Mercedes even if they had started from the front.

"I think Mercedes at this circuit, they were in a class of their own," he said. "Any debate about where the current power hierarchy is at the moment… this was a Mercedes whitewash."

Red Bull's strong pace at Monza was something of a surprise, especially because Max Verstappen and Ricciardo were able to set the second and third fastest times in qualifying.

Horner said there was no explanation for why his team had been so competitive at the power track, with it having struggled there previously in the past.

"It is an interesting one because to be honest with you, the cars performed very well – and certainly in the wet which is always a great equaliser," he said.

"It was better than we expected, and the car performed very strongly in the race too. Analysis will show it was the second strongest car outside the Mercedes, so to start as far behind the Ferraris as we did and be only four seconds behind Seb at the finish was a very encouraging performance today.

"Listening to the drivers in the debrief, it is still obvious where we lack in terms of laptime when following our competitors. But I think the chassis has worked at this particular circuit very well."

Red Bull had entered the year with a low drag aero concept but, when it didn't deliver the expected results, the team started adding more downforce.

Horner said he does not believe that its initial low-drag idea helped it at Monza, which he instead credited to work that had done on a specific low-downforce configuration.

"I think that as we have put more development on the car, the car has changed quite significantly, and I think we have managed to find a good compromise here," he said.

"We have managed to find a good compromise on the brakes, and you can see how good the car was on the brakes, particularly with Daniel this weekend. The pass he made on Kimi [Raikkonen] for example was from an awfully long way back.

"I think we have found a good balance here, and certainly the strategy we have run, we've managed to be light enough on the tyres to have the durability and the distance to make that strategy work."

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