F1 News: Christian Horner Puzzled By Surprise Mercedes Performance

Christian Horner and Helmut Marko
Christian Horner and Helmut Marko / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner called the British Grand Prix “a very weird race” where three cars from different teams contended for the top position amidst unpredictable circumstances, only for Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton to take the top spot in his W15.

Teams are still navigating the complexities of determining which strategies proved effective and which fell short in response to the varied weather conditions and grip levels encountered by the top three cars.

Throughout the Grand Prix, Hamilton, Max Verstappen, and Lando Norris remained closely competitive, frequently swapping positions due to the fluctuating weather, temperature shifts, and varying traction levels that caused them to adopt their respective strategies.

If one considers the 2024 season so far, it all began with Red Bull’s RB20 being the fastest car, followed by Ferrari upping the ante on its SF-24. Then came the turn of McLaren’s MCL38 that ensured its drivers reached the podium in every race, including a victory for Norris in Miami.

The Canadian GP marked the resurgence of Mercedes’ W15. Like much of the 2024 season thus far, the British GP was unpredictable, making it challenging to predict the winner until the final stages of the race.

Horner described the Silverstone race as “weird” due to the constantly shifting variables that made predicting the race outcome challenging. He told the media:

“It was a very weird race.

“I think if anybody can explain the pace of their car [the Mercedes] they would be doing very well because it seemed to move around.

“The Mercedes has always been strong in the cooler conditions, and they looked to have things pretty much in control.

“Then Lewis came alive as it started to rain, and then the McLaren really came alive and passed both of us. So, it was moving around depending on what was going on.

“In those conditions, you’d expect Max to then really come alive as well, but he was struggling at that point.

“Then, as the circuit started to dry out, the pace arrived back and we were at times six, seven-tenths a lap quicker than Lewis and Lando [Norris].”

Despite the complexities, Horner concluded that the tires were significantly impacting the performance of the cars. He added:

“I think it’s all about tyres.

“I think it’s all about the tyre working at a certain point in time, a certain condition – whether it’s hot or cold.

“Different cars are working the tyres in different ways, and you saw an extremity of that as the circuit went from damp to wet and back to dry.”

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