Christian Horner turns on old enemy Mercedes after Red Bull’s dire Monaco GP

Max Verstappen's sixth place and Sergio Perez's DNF meant Mercedes outscored Red Bull at the 2024 Monaco GP thanks to George Russell (5th) and Lewis Hamilton (7th)

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Christian Horner flamed Mercedes once again after the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix, accusing them of a ‘defeatist, hugely conservative race plan’ as the Silver Arrows outscored Red Bull for just the third time since 2022.

Max Verstappen was sandwiched between two Mercedes led by George Russell, who was forced to complete 77 laps on medium tyres by an early red flag while the Dutchman and Lewis Hamilton pitted for fresher tyres but still couldn’t find a way past Russell.

The Brit managed his pace effectively from the restart to ensure his tyres could last virtually the entire race distance and though Verstappen quickly closed back up to his rear wing after pitting, Russell never looked under too much pressure on the impossibly tight Monte Carlo streets.

“I didn’t really understand Mercedes‘ race today, it was a hugely conservative race by George,” Horner told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com.

“Because to give up so much time then go fast at the end of the race didn’t really make a lot of sense. But I don’t think it would’ve changed, they weren’t going to overtake anybody it was just a very defeatist race just trying to defend fifth.”

When asked if he’s worried about the prospect of a championship fight, Horner added: “Perhaps not with Mercedes but I think Ferrari and McLaren certainly look competitive and they cannot be discounted. It’s a long long championship but obviously they’ve taken a reasonable chunk of points today.”

Horner’s solution to fix Monaco

Max Verstappen during 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen during 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner also called on F1 and Monaco GP organisers to change the Monte Carlo circuit in order to improve the spectacle of the sport’s most iconic event.

There wasn’t a single overtake in the points positions in the entire 77-lap race as Charles Leclerc always looked on course for victory after surviving the two grid starts from pole position, and bad luck generally is the only way the qualifying leader can be denied victory in Monaco.

“I think it’s something we should collectively have a look at,” Horner added. “It’s not racing as such when you’re driving around three or four seconds off the pace just because the other car hasn’t got any chance of overtaking.

Monaco keep reclaiming land, so I think it’s collectively something Formula 1 should look at because it’s such a great place, so much history here but I think the cars are so big now.

“Compared to cars 10 years ago, they’re a much closer size so it’s something that collectively as a sport with a promoter I think we look at how do we just introduce an overtaking opportunity.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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