“It was obvious that Sebastian was going to need a little bit of luck, but he had a perfect weekend and it all worked out well for him; he delivered in qualifying and in the race, and Ferrari didn't quite get it right on that day – but it's not all about one race. You've got to look at the championship as 19 events, and I think it was phenomenal for Sebastian to only lead it at the end – the first time of the year, but also the most important time. It's been a tremendous performance by him this year to become the youngest-ever world champion, although obviously it was disappointing for Mark, who has put together a very impressive campaign.
“I think it's been a phenomenal year for Red Bull in F1 – to have ended up winning both the constructors' and drivers' world championships [and securing] nine grand prix victories, 15 pole positions and 20 podiums is an awesome achievement, and something the whole team and every member of Red Bull is very proud of.
“The one thing we've never taken for granted is the competitiveness and heritage that our rivals have and the challenge they present us with. You've got the tremendous history of Ferrari, the indisputable achievements of McLaren, the might of Mercedes – so to have come out on top of those teams is all down to teamwork, to every single department working in unison to achieve the objective. It's just a fantastic team performance by all members.”
Rewarding indeed to get the better of adversaries of such an immensely high calibre and with such outstanding records of success, it was similarly gratifying to triumph in what was only RBR's sixth season on the grand prix grid, meaning the energy drinks-backed outfit has come a long way indeed in such a comparatively short space of time.
As to individual highlights along the way, Horner picks out the one-two around the streets of Monaco – the celebrated jewel in F1's glittering crown – as 'a very special result for the team', as well as the 'big, big moment' in Brazil and the 'phenomenal feeling' of doing the double in Abu Dhabi.
Asked, finally, as to whether he was at all frustrated that given the dominance of the RB6, the drivers' duel went all the way down to the wire, he insists that the way in which the season panned out in the end was good both for Red Bull Racing...and for the sport in general.
“That's an interesting way of looking at it,” smiled the 37-year-old, a former racer himself. “Ultimately, I think it was a fantastic result, and it was great that a Red Bull driver won the world championship. Of course, if luck had smiled on us a little earlier in the year...
“If you look back at Sebastian's year, for example, there were a minimum of three and probably more races that he could and should have won – if you think of Bahrain with the spark plug, Australia with the wheel nut, Korea with the catastrophic engine failure, he should have been sitting on more victories than the five that he scored at the end of the year.
“I think that was ultimately good for the championship, though – it would have been nice to have had everything tied up by August, but things turned out okay in the end and I think it was better for F1 the way it was. It was a phenomenal year, going into the final race with four drivers in contention and all four of those drivers finishing the race. I think it will go down in the sport's history books as one of the most competitive and enthralling seasons, which makes it even more satisfying to have finished it on top.”
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