Red Bull team principal Christian Horner accepts an unlikely podium won’t act as too much frustration as he saw the funny side to Renault’s double DNF denying Max Verstappen a late attack for third place against Charles Leclerc.

With long-time race-leader Leclerc limping to the Bahrain Grand Prix chequered flag with an engine issue, Verstappen had been on course to catch the Ferrari driver and grab the final rostrum spot. But when both Renault drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo suffered simultaneous engine failures with three laps to go a late safety car was triggered to effectively neutralise the end of the race.

It denied Verstappen any opportunity to attack Leclerc and therefore miss the podium which led to Horner jokingly blame Renault. Red Bull cut ties to an unhappy engine partnership with Renault last year, starting a new deal with Honda this season, when the French manufacturer was often held responsible for its underperformance.

“Renault blowing up unfortunately didn’t help us see the podium! It’s ironic, isn’t it?” Horner said. “Whether they’re in the car or out of the car!

“But yeah, could it have been a Virtual Safety Car? It’s difficult. With two cars on circuit so I think the race operations have been fine.”

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Horner believes more pressing solutions need to be found at Red Bull Honda having struggled to find a strong setup and balance with its car throughout the Bahrain race weekend.

“We just don’t seem to have been able to extract the most out of the tyres in both qualifying and the race. How much is that effected by the wind, it’s difficult to say,” he said. “I think the wind affected us badly, to a greater or to a lesser extent than other teams, I don’t know but it seemed to hurt our car quite a lot here.

“But I think the drivers have done a good job to get the most out of the car. But when you listen to their comments they’re not in a happy window at the moment with where the car is capable of being.

“I think generally when you’re chasing issues like that and you’re moving a problem around it’s - usually the points finger in other areas. I think we’ve to a lot of good data from this weekend and starting to understand areas that we need to be focusing on.”

 

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