Horner defends Vettel after terse radio message
21 April 2014 – Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has defended the actions of World Champion Sebastian Vettel during the Chinese Grand Prix.
Vettel was running ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo during the middle stint of the race and was asked to allow the Australian to pass him. When Vettel enquired further and was informed that Ricciardo was on identical but fresher Medium tyres, he replied "tough luck."
Vettel was consequently passed by Ricciardo shortly afterwards but Horner defended his driver.
"He's going to challenge them because he's a racer and the guys want to race each other," Horner told Sky Sports. "We were looking at a different strategy and then he has moved out of the way and let his team-mate through."
Vettel has had a quiet start to his title defence but Horner insists that Red Bull is pushing to help the German combat his problems with the RB10.
"We always want the best result for the team and Daniel finished 20 seconds up the road," he said. "More important for us is to understand why Sebastian is struggling. He's obviously not getting as much out of the car as Daniel at present. We know that Sebastian is very sensitive to how a car enters a corner and at the moment he hasn't got the feel he needs."
Despite Vettel being 46 points down on championship leader Nico Rosberg and Red Bull nearly 100 points behind Mercedes - which has won all four races in 2014 - Horner reckons his squad can take the fight to the current pace setters, although acknolwedged that they cannot afford to lose more ground.
"We've got to take the fight to them and we're going to give it everything. I believe we can take the championship to them but we can't concede too much more ground," he said. "We were 22km/h slower on the straights and that's where we have to improve - and hopefully there will be some steps on that for Barcelona."