Horner vows Red Bull will “chip away” at Mercedes advantage

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner believes his team can make inroads into the huge advantage Mercedes held in this morning’s first practice for the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

Horner vows Red Bull will “chip away” at Mercedes advantage
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing with Christian Horner, Team Principal Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 - Evel Knievel themed helmet
Car of Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12 running sensor equipment
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
(L to R): Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing with Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Third Driver and Conor Daly

Despite Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg lapping well over 1.5s faster than Max Verstappen in FP1, Horner believes Red Bull will move closer – as it works hard to stay ahead of Ferrari.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “Sectors one and three here are all about getting a good balance for your chassis and temperatures are going to rise through the weekend.

“Hopefully we can keep chipping away at the Mercedes ahead, and most important for us is that we try and cover Ferrari this weekend.”

Horner said the FP1 run plan was not a true reflection of their pace potential this weekend, due to running new engines and only using the medium tyres on short runs.

“[We were] pretty sensible to be honest, kind of running out of kilter with the rest, running on the medium tyre – which looks pretty durable around here,” he said. “Both drivers seemed happy with balance on long runs and short runs, so far so good.

“[TAG/Renault] run some very safe modes on a Friday and these are brand new engines as well. They were both running through different modes, and the engines have to go through a learning process as well to get to an optimum state. There’s nothing more than that.”

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