Verstappen: Austrian GP result 'better than expected' after Red Bull struggles at home race

By Sports Desk July 10, 2022

Max Verstappen was pleased to have minimised the damage from a difficult Austrian Grand Prix despite seeing Charles Leclerc claim victory at the Red Bull Ring.

Verstappen, who had won three of the previous four Austrian Grands Prix at the circuit and prevailed at last year's Styrian Grand Prix at Red Bull's home track, looked set to continue his dominance having claimed pole position in qualifying and eased to first place in Saturday's sprint.

Despite a clean getaway helping him stay in the lead exiting turn one, Verstappen's Red Bull lacked the pace of the Ferraris of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz as he struggled with tyre degradation.

Sergio Perez's collision with George Russell and subsequent retirement left Verstappen without a team-mate on track and at the mercy of the two Scuderia drivers, and Ferrari executed their strategy superbly to put themselves in position for a one-two.

However, Sainz's engine failed on lap 58 as he was preparing an overtake of Verstappen for second place, meaning the Dutchman was able to keep his championship lead at 38 points as he came home behind Leclerc, who managed a throttle problem in the closing laps to end a seven-race winless run.

Asked about the end result given his struggles compared to Ferrari, Verstappen replied to Sky Sports:

"It was better than expected. If you look at the whole race, we were lacking pace. There was a lot of deg and I don't really understand why it was that bad. 

"It looked like Carlos was also going to overtake me, but unfortunately he encountered engine trouble. At the end, to only lose five points over a weekend is not too bad on a bad day.

"It's been a bit more tricky than I expected it to be today, but sometimes these things can happen."

Pressed on the exact issue with the tyres, Verstappen said: "There was no grip and I could not manage my tyres like I wanted to because they were degrading a lot.

"It seemed like we had a bit of an off day and they [Ferrari] had a very strong day."

Verstappen's commanding lead at the halfway stage of the season makes him the clear favourite to retain the drivers' championship.

However, Ferrari's obvious advantage on Sunday suggested the race is far from run with 11 races still to go.

Verstappen said when asked if the battle will go the wire: "It's a bit difficult to say after today; if you look at today, it looks not that great for us, but things can turn really quickly, so it's a bit difficult to tell."

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  • Red Bull team principal Christian Horner cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ Red Bull team principal Christian Horner cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’

    Christian Horner will continue as team principal of the Red Bull Formula One team after he was cleared of “inappropriate behaviour”.

    Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull GmbH announced on February 5 that Horner was under investigation following an accusation made against him by a female colleague.

    Horner emphatically denied the claim, and the 50-year-old – who arrived in Bahrain on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s opening race of the season – has been cleared of wrongdoing.

    Red Bull GmbH said it was confident the investigation had been “fair, rigorous and impartial”, but added that the report – understood to stretch to 150 pages – is “confidential”.

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had called for the investigation to be conducted with transparency – but no details of the allegations against Horner were reported.

    Horner has made no public comment. He is expected to be on Red Bull’s pit-wall in Bahrain for practice on Thursday. The complainant also has a right to appeal the verdict.

    A statement from Red Bull GmbH read: “The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed.

    “The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial.

    “The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

    Horner, who has protested his innocence throughout, was questioned by a lawyer for eight hours earlier this month at a secret London location.

    During the internal probe, he continued to be present for official Red Bull activities – including a car launch in Milton Keynes earlier this month – where he insisted it was “business as usual” – and also pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.

    Horner flew back to England as he awaited his fate before heading back to the Gulf kingdom on a private jet on Wednesday.

    Horner has been Red Bull team principal since they entered F1 19 years ago and is the longest-serving boss on the grid.

    He has overseen seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ titles.

    Red Bull have dominated the sport in recent seasons and last year won 21 of the 22 races – with Dutch driver Max Verstappen setting a new record for 10 consecutive victories as he wrapped up his third title.

    Addressing the controversy surrounding Horner, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said earlier on Wednesday: “We always have to do more to try to make the sport and the environment for people to work in feel safe and inclusive.

    “Any allegations have to be taken very seriously. We don’t know everything that has gone on but it needs to be resolved because it is hanging over the sport.

    “It will be interesting to see how it is dealt with, and the effect that it may or may not have on the sport moving forward. It is a really important moment for the sport to make sure that we stand true to our values.”

    Horner, who is married to former Spice Girls singer Geri Halliwell, was awarded a CBE for his services to motorsport in the New Year Honours list.

    Verstappen said before Horner had been cleared of any wrongdoing: “He is very important otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that position for such a long time.

    “Everyone is focused on what happens on track and we are in a good mood to get going again.”

  • The key questions after Christian Horner is cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ The key questions after Christian Horner is cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’

    Christian Horner will continue as team principal of the Red Bull Formula One team after he was cleared of “inappropriate behaviour”.

    Here, the PA news agency looks at the key questions surrounding the controversy which has rocked Horner, Red Bull, and the sport.

    What were the accusations against Horner?

    On February 5, Red Bull Racing’s parent company GmbH confirmed Horner was under investigation following an accusation of “inappropriate behaviour”. The company said it “takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible”.

    Horner denied the claim – made by a female colleague – and remained as team principal and CEO of the Milton Keynes-based team. It is understood the complainant also continued in her role.

    How did Red Bull react?

    Horner was questioned by a lawyer for eight hours at a secret London location. There was no immediate resolution and Horner subsequently appeared at Red Bull’s car launch on February 15.

    He continued to dismiss the allegations. Horner then headed to Bahrain for last week’s three-day test before returning to England, while Red Bull’s Austrian board met to discuss his future.

    What was the verdict?

    On the eve of this weekend’s curtain raiser – and 23 days after it emerged Horner was under investigation – Red Bull GmBH said the grievance against the 50-year old had been dismissed.

    The corporation said it was confident the investigation had been “fair, rigorous and impartial” but added that the report, understood to stretch to 150 pages, is “confidential”.

    Is this the end of it?

    That remains to be seen. Red Bull said the complainant has “a right of appeal”. It is unclear at this stage whether she will pursue any further action. Horner is due to be on the Red Bull pit-wall for practice on Thursday.

    What does it mean for Max Verstappen?

    Despite the controversy, the Dutch driver will head into Saturday’s curtain raiser as the favourite to win his fourth world championship.

    Speaking before it had been confirmed Horner would remain as team principal, Verstappen said: “He (Horner) is very important otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that position for such a long time.”

  • Christian Horner stays on in Red Bull role as grievance against him is dismissed Christian Horner stays on in Red Bull role as grievance against him is dismissed

    Christian Horner will remain in his post as Red Bull team principal.

    Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull GmbH announced on February 5 that Horner was under investigation following an accusation of “inappropriate behaviour” by a female colleague.

    Horner emphatically denied the claim and the 50-year-old, who arrived in Bahrain on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s opening race of the Formula One season, will stay on as team principal of the British team.

    A statement from Red Bull GmbH read: “The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed.

    “The complainant has a right of appeal.

    “Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial.

    “The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

    Horner fully co-operated with the investigation, having been questioned by a lawyer for around eight hours earlier this month at a secret London location away from the team’s Milton Keynes headquarters.

    During the internal probe, he continued to be present for official Red Bull activities – including the new car launch in Milton Keynes earlier this month, and also pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.

    Asked whether he had considered temporarily stepping aside until the conclusion, Horner stressed it was “business as usual”.

    He said: “Obviously, I fully deny any accusations that have been made against me, but of course I’ll work with that process, which I hope is concluded in the near future.”

    Horner has been Red Bull team principal since they entered F1 19 years ago and is the longest-serving boss on the grid.

    Under Horner’s leadership, he has overseen seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ titles at the British-based F1 team.

    Red Bull have dominated the sport in recent seasons and last year won 21 of the 22 races – with Dutch driver Max Verstappen setting a new record for 10 consecutive victories.

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