Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner was left to rue another Grand Prix where his team suffered an unfortunate retirement, this time thanks to a Lap 1 collision triggered by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas – with Horner bitterly suggesting that Bottas had done ‘a great job’ in hampering the races of both Red Bulls.
Bottas careered into the McLaren of Lando Norris at Turn 1 of the opening lap and then hit Red Bull’s Sergio Perez – who was forced into retirement – with Norris’s car then causing damage to Verstappen’s.
But while Horner was grateful to his mechanics for the swift repair job to Verstappen’s car during the resulting red flag – which allowed the Dutch driver to ultimately claim P9 – the Red Bull chief was also frustrated at a second consecutive race weekend where a Mercedes had made contact with a Red Bull.
“Unfortunately, the result for us is that [Bottas] eliminated both of our cars,” said Horner.
“I think unfortunately you saw Valtteri make a poor start, he obviously misjudged his braking and he’s done a great job for Mercedes in taking out both of our cars. A significant amount of damage, lost another engine with Sergio and then Max was hugely compromised.
2021 Hungarian Grand Prix: Bottas sparks multiple crashes in dramatic race start
“I have to say the mechanics worked wonders getting that car working again,” added Horner, “just getting some of the pipes straightened on it was an incredible response. But hugely frustrating obviously.
“It’s brutal for us, but I think the team did well to get that car back out there, they nailed the fastest stop, Max fought for that one point [which later became two when Sebatian Vettel was disqualified], and that could prove vital at the end of the year.”
The damage may sting Red Bull later this season as Perez could face grid penalties if he uses more than the three allocated engines over the season, while the financial implication will worry the team under F1’s cost cap rules.
Asked if Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff had apologised to him, Horner replied with a chuckle: “Is he going to pay the bill?”
He added: “Look, it’s racing, you know? Toto wasn’t driving the car, his driver was driving the car. I’m sure he didn’t tell him, ‘Crash into Red Bull.’ I’m sure he wasn’t that sorry to see the result, but I’m sure he didn’t tell Valtteri to do that.
“The consequences for us are brutal and in a cost cap environment that needs looking at by the FIA,” reiterated the team boss.
Red Bull sit 12 points behind Mercedes in the table while Verstappen is eight behind Hungary podium-finisher Lewis Hamilton after an action-packed Grand Prix at the Hungaroring.