Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has given credit to the team’s mid-season upgrade package introduced in Hungary for unlocking a race pace gain which is paying off in its late season charge.

The team secured its first consecutive double podium finishes in the V6 hybrid engine era in Malaysia and Japan having outperformed its own expectations thanks to Max Verstappen's victory at Sepang, that was aided by Ferrari’s nightmare two races, and Horner is confident the jump in pace is down to an upgrade introduced at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Horner is hopeful the trend will continue into the remaining races in 2017 as it hunts further wins to carry momentum into a potential title challenge next season.

“Even Monza and Spa at circuits which shouldn’t play to our strengths we were pretty competitive,” Horner said. “Really since we put an upgrade on the car in Hungary, since that point in time, we’ve made great progress with the car and I suppose we have delivered more here and at Malaysia than we initially expected.

“There are incremental bits that are going on all the time as what you are learning now is relevant to next year because of the stable regulations.”

Horner has also called on Renault to maintain its hunt for engine improvements both in qualifying and race pace for 2018 and has reiterated he’ll only be content when results appear on track rather than promises from the French manufacturer’s management.

“If we can find a bit of horsepower over the winter it puts us into a much better season going into next season,” he said. “The stopwatch doesn’t lie. Talk is cheap and it is what happens on track [that counts].

“We see they are working really hard and hopefully as these rules have been pretty stable for some time now there will start to be some convergence.”

In Japan, Horner repeated his ambition to retain both Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo until at least 2020 and is confident it can be achieved if the team provides the drivers with a title-contending car for next year.



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