Christian Horner was flattered to hear that Lewis Hamilton sees the Red Bull RB19 as the fastest Formula 1 car he has ever seen.
The seven-time world champion has driven his fair share of extraordinary machinery during his 17 years in the sport and Horner was keen to point that out given the praise the Brit heaped on the reigning champions.
Red Bull have recorded successive one-two finishes to start the 2023 season with both being considerably clear of the rest of the field, both times with Fernando Alonso the closest chaser for Aston Martin.
“It’s very flattering, particularly coming from Lewis given some of the cars he’s driven,” Horner told the media ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
“We’ve got a great car, the RB19 is a fantastic starting point for the season for us and to achieve two one-two finishes in the first two races of the season is more than we could have ever expected coming into this season.
Nobody was surprised to see Red Bull emerge as the fastest team at the start of 2023 but the gap to the rest of the field was alarming.
Horner himself admitted that he was surprised to be so far ahead in both qualifying and race trim considering the speed Ferrari and, eventually, Mercedes found towards the end of 2022.
When asked if he was surprised at the gap Red Bull have created, Horner said, “Honestly, at times, yes.
“We’ve seen that some teams have made a step forward and some haven’t but that is going to change from circuit to circuit.
“I’ve always said it’s going to take four races to get a pattern as to what is going to be the actual formbook.”
They weren’t at the head of the field in Albert Park, however, as Alonso topped FP2 although rain curtailed any real running after the first 10 minutes to deny everyone a proper qualifying simulation run.