Valencia: Red Bull boss Christian Horner said Sebastian Vettel’s convincing, yet unexpected win at Sunday’s European Grand Prix was a massive boost for the team.
Horner admitted his team went to Valencia with doubts over whether their Renault-powered car would keep up with rival teams using the higher-powered Mercedes engine, so he was overwhelmed when the 25-year-old German dominated qualifying and won the race in such a convincing manner.
“This is a massive win for Sebastian and the team,” Horner said, “This was a track where we didn’t expect to perform on a level with the McLaren and Mercedes-powered cars.
“To achieve a front row lock-out and a dominant race win was very satisfying with Sebastian.”
Horner also felt that individually Vettel would take great confidence from his victory after being overshadowed by his team-mate Australian Mark Webber.
“Yeah, it was important for Seb,” continued Horner. “It gets his campaign back on track and it was a very impressive drive from him.
“I think Sebastian will take a lot of confidence from that drive and I am sure there was nothing between them. He has had a couple of difficult races, a bit of bad luck, and it will be very good for his confidence.”
Horner was incredibly relieved that Webber, 33, was unhurt after his spectacular collision with Finn Heikki Kovalainen of Lotus, which saw his car fly through the air upside down at speeds close to 190mph.
“The most important thing is that Mark emerged unscathed from a very nasty looking accident. It is always horrible to see a car get in the air like it did, but thankfully he is fine. The car and chassis did exactly what it should and he will be back and fighting fit for Silverstone.”
Horner refused to blame Kovalainen for the horrifying accident, putting it down to a large difference in speed.
“I don’t think he was anywhere near his braking point, that was the problem. I think Heikki’s braking point was about half a kilometre earlier than his!
“I think the closing speed between the cars was so massive. Heikki was in the middle of the road and it wasn’t quite clear to Mark whether he was going left or right. Heikki is doing the best job he can in a very slow car, and the resulting incident was because Mark just didn’t have any chance to react.”