Christian Horner hailed Sunday “phenomenal" for Red Bull in its tight F1 title battle with Mercedes after the team delivered on his aim to “score large” over its rivals in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen started from the front after polesitter Charles Leclerc failed to take to the grid due to a left-driveshaft failure on his Ferrari, allowing the Red Bull driver to convert it into a win and lead the championship for the first time in his F1 career.
Sergio Perez also brought points home for the team in fourth, allowing Red Bull team principal Horner to savour the moment.
“Commiserations to Charles and Ferrari, obviously it was tough for them but their loss was our gain," said Horner.
“Max converted the race beautifully. He controlled from the very first corner, he managed the tyres, pushed when we needed to and the strategy worked well. Checo [Perez] also had great pace."
In contrast, Mercedes had a disastrous race with Valtteri Bottas retiring after a pitstop problem while Lewis Hamilton was a lowly seventh, although claimed the consolation of the extra point for fastest lap.
It is the first time in the turbo-hybrid era Red Bull has led the championship, the first time Verstappen has been on the top of the drivers’ table and the first time engine supplier Honda has led a championship since 1991.
Horner added: “We thought about [fastest lap] but we thought, you know what there’s a podium up for grabs in Monaco, let's keep the pressure on Lando and see if we can capitalise on a mistake.
“Lewis was setting purple sectors at that time and we felt the upside of a podium outweighed a point for fastest lap if we’d have managed it, so that’s why we stuck with that strategy.
“Obviously, [Mercedes] had a tough day today. It happens sometimes, that’s racing. It’s been a great day for us championship wise.
“It’s so close between the two teams and it was important for us to come here and score large and that’s what we’ve done. Job done here, we just have to keep that momentum going.”