Red Bull’s “really encouraging” performance at the British Grand Prix leaves the team confident heading into the second half of the 2019 Formula 1 season, according to Christian Horner.

The Milton Keynes squad was not expecting to fare particularly well at Silverstone, a circuit renowned for its high power-sensitivity, but Max Verstappen was able to qualify within 0.183s of Valtteri Bottas’ poletime.

Verstappen battled Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for the final podium spot and looked on course to challenge Bottas for second place until he was hit by Sebastian Vettel, dropping the Dutchman to fifth, while teammate Pierre Gasly scored his best result of the season in fourth.

“It’s really encouraging to be this close to Mercedes around this type of track,” Horner said.

“We know it is power-sensitive, and to be able to follow the Ferraris as closely as we were able to through Maggots, Becketts and Copse, Max was able to take some serious momentum behind the Ferraris there and that’s usually the sign of a pretty decent car.

“I think we’ve definitely unlocked some potential from the car. The car has behaved very well at Silverstone in high-speed and low-speed, we’ve looked competitive.

“And for Max to be as close to the pole time as much as he was, even without the [engine] hesitations maybe would have got even closer, and then in the race we didn’t see his true pace because he spent it stuck behind a Ferrari for 99 percent of it.

“We’ve got confidence going to Hockenheim following the performance at Silverstone,” he added.

“This, after Monza, is one of the most power-sensitive circuits on the calendar, you are flat out on the lap here for pretty much the entirety of the lap. So that’s encouraging for us, and certainly for a track like Hockenheim which is less power-sensitive than here.

“Hungary is a track we have always performed well at. Hopefully we can have a strong car there.”

Horner expects further progress when Honda introduces its next engine upgrade – which is expected to come at either the Belgian or Italian Grand Prix - and insists the Japanese manufacturer has reduced much of the deficit to leading power unit rivals Ferrari and Mercedes already this year.

“I think there is still time to find but they are doing a good job and they are definitely closing the gap,” Horner said.

“We’ve got a lot of racing to do before we get to that point. If we were to introduce a new engine it would be around the Spa-Monza timing. Monza historically has been a good place for us to introduce engine penalties.”

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