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Horner dismisses Red Bull's 2019 title chances

Read Sport logo Read Sport 21/03/2019 Hamilton Lyndon-Griffiths
a group of people riding on the back of a truck: F1 Grand Prix of Australia © Charles Coates/Getty Images Sport F1 Grand Prix of Australia

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has rejected talk of the team being 2019 title contenders despite its strong start to the season.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit began its partnership with new engine suppliers Honda in fine fettle, beating rivals Ferrari to secure the Japanese manufacturer’s first podium finish since 2008.

Horner admitted post-race that Red Bull “over-performed” expectations, and although the performance left it optimistic it has closed the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari, he believes its premature to put it amongst the championship conversation.

“I think it’s too early to talk about championships, but certainly to be on the podium is a great moment for Honda,” said Horner, as quoted by ESPN.

“We’re very proud of that achievement, grateful for the product they’ve given us. Hopefully it’s a starting point for a strong season.

“We want to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari [and] we’ve done that. It’s only one race but we have a good start. We have to build on this positive energy.”

Red Bull debutant Pierre Gasly endured a frustrating start to his 2019 campaign, the Frenchman walked away empty-handed from Albert Park.

The team apologised to Gasly for an error in qualifying that saw him eliminated in Q1 and unable to fight back to the points positions on Sunday.

Asked how he would judge Gasly’s performance at the season-opener, Horner replied: “It’s still early days. There’s always pressure in Formula 1 but I thought he drove a good race.

“He just needs a straightforward weekend. He built his way into the weekend very well, his feedback’s very strong.

“We know he’s got the pace, we’ve just got to give the kid a bit of time and it’ll come right for him.”

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