Red Bull principal Christian Horner said Max Verstappen “redeemed himself” after finish P2 in the Hungarian GP despite crashing on his way to the grid.
For Verstappen the parade lap proved too much after he slid off at Turn 12 on a greasy track and went into the barriers.
He got going again but the front wing was gone and there appeared to be serious damage to the front-left steering arm.
Red Bull were able to repair the RB16 though with seconds to go, and Verstappen made their efforts worthwhile by finishing P2 after starting P7, splitting the Mercedes.
So it was understandable that Red Bull felt he had more than made up for his error.
“Max redeemed himself,” Horner told Sky F1.
“On the lap to the grid on the inters he did his best to go off, I think he went off three times.
“Then almost terminally [at Turn 12], we made a late call after he managed to reverse it out to drive it to the grid.
“He was going to come into the pits because he thought it was all over, but we could see from the TV that it was mainly the push rod.
“The mechanics on that car have done an amazing job today getting that turned around in 20 minutes in something that would usually take an hour and a half to get that result today.
“I think we completed it with 25 seconds to go when the wheel went on, and the sweat was dripping off the guys, looking at them work there was amazing.
“The guys are doing an amazing job at the moment, the amount of specification changes we’ve had this weekend, the all-nighters that went through on Friday night, we were obviously on the ropes in qualifying, and to bounce back and get P2 here to split the Mercedes, I think last night I would have bitten your right arm off for that.”
From P13 ⏫ P5! 👏 That drive got us like 🙌 @alex_albon 👊 #HungarianGP pic.twitter.com/CGwXKOTxHT
— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) July 19, 2020
It was also a positive afternoon for Alex Albon who recovered from starting P13 to cross the line P5.
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Mercedes remain dominant with their W11, taking every race win so far in 2020, but Horner thinks Red Bull aren’t too far away from getting the RB16 truly in its zone.
“I think strategically we are sharp in the race, the car is in better shape,” he explained.
“We’ve got some issues, and also brought updates to the car that aren’t behaving themselves, we have a lot of data now that we have to understand.
“And now we’ve got two weeks to try to convert that into performance in time for Silverstone.
“There are parts of the track where we are strong, and other parts compared to the Mercedes where we are giving away too much time.
“In the race that compresses, but we need to do a better job.
“We had a strong pre-season, the car behaved itself very well through Barcelona, you saw it knocking in the lap times.
“We had some issues in Austria, but they were very much extenuated here.
“This traditionally is a track that’s been very strong for us.
“But I don’t think it will take much, we’ve got the base of a very strong car here, we just need to get the guys into it quickly and I’m sure we’ll turn it around.”
Red Bull have been called to the Stewards room after allegedly drying Albon’s grid spot artificially with leaf blowers, something which is forbidden.
But Horner isn’t sweating about any repercussions.
“They have leaf blowers blowing into the heating ducts to keep the cars cool, so obviously someone’s had a moan about it but it still looked pretty wet to me,” he said.
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