Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admits that it may take another tale of the unexpected to deny Mercedes an eighth victory of the year at next weekend's British Grand Prix.
Previewing his team's other 'home' event in the wake of a disappointing outing in Austria last Sunday, Horner conceded that Silverstone should suit the Mercedes as much as any track used so far this season, but pointed to the surprising Canadian Grand Prix – where RBR's Daniel Ricciardo claimed his first F1 win – as reason to remain optimistic.
“All things being equal, obviously the Mercedes have got such an advantage at the moment, it's going to be tough to beat them,” Horner confirmed, “But, as we saw in Montreal recently, anything can happen and we're going to be pushing hard. Renault are working hard on their side and, hopefully, we can give [Mercedes] a bit of a run for their money.”
Silverstone provides a rare opportunity for the teams' HQ staff to get to see the cars in action, and Horner is keen to reward his staff with a good performance.
“It's fantastic that we've got so many of the factory attending the race, and we have a team grandstand so everyone can sit together and cheer on the guys on track,” he explained, “The factory is only about 20 minutes away from the circuit, so it's fantastic to have so many of the team attend the race, to see their cars that they work on tirelessly all year, it is their one opportunity to see them live in action. And it gives an extra element for the race team as well, knowing their colleagues and families are in the crowd supporting them.”
As for the drivers, both are fans of the British venue, with Ricciardo excited about his first chance to tackle it in a front-line car.
“Silverstone is great,” he grinned, “It's just a great, great racing circuit. It's fast, it's flowing and you really get to rag your car for all it's worth. There's nowhere better at letting you know how very, very good an F1 car is than Silverstone, in particular through that ultra-fast Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex.
“The two hairpins at turns three and four give you quite a variation of racing lines, even though they're 'just' hairpins. You can push hard through the first one and sacrifice the second or you can do the contrary. The more I drive it, the more I also enjoy the new section because it creates more chances for overtaking and it's not as straightforward as it looks.”
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel enjoyed a bitter-sweet British Grand Prix a year ago, losing out on victory with the chequered flag in sight, and he is keen to return to redress the balance, even though he accepts that beating Mercedes will be tough.
“I always like going to Silverstone,” he admitted, “The track is incredible to drive and the British crowd that turns out to watch the weekend is always massive - whether it's wet or dry everyone, always looks like they are having a really good time.
“I have good memories of Silverstone. The best must be winning there in 2009, and Mark [Webber] won there in 2010 and 2012, so we have a good record at the track. A lot of the staff who work so hard on the car will be watching from the grandstands with their families, so I hope we can get a good result for them.”