Christian Horner says he is taking a lot of encouragement from Red Bull's performance around a circuit it has struggled at in the past after it out-paced Ferrari in the Austrian Grand Prix.
Despite being owned by Red Bull, its F1 team has never reached the podium at the Spielberg circuit since its return to the schedule in 2014, but showed promising pace throughout the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix weekend.
With Max Verstappen eking out his one-stop strategy to secure a second place finish behind Lewis Hamilton, Horner was delighted to see the team demonstrate its recent upturn in pace around a particularly difficult circuit.
“Max did a great job making that tyre last all those laps, certainly our heart was in our mouth for the last few laps because we knew we'd gone through all the pins on the tyres and there wasn't a lot of rubber left. It was quite reminiscent of Barcelona just over a month ago with same person behind him. The yellow flag on the last lap at turn three helped us.
“I think it is really encouraging. We still know we have work to do, there were areas of this track where it was obvious we still have ground to make up, but we've had a good first half of the year so far and I think there is more to come in the second half of the year. All the signs are reasonably positive.”
Indeed, Horner feels Red Bull displayed better form than Ferrari to the race, reflecting the gains made by the team in recent rounds.
“We benefitted from the Mercedes get together on the last lap but I think we had the upper hand on Ferrari in the race today which was great. We've taken 13 points out of their lead and it was a positive home GP and great for Dietrich to see his car leading the race here and fighting for the podium.”