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How Red Bull has clawed back Mercedes' COTA advantage

How Red Bull has clawed back Mercedes' COTA advantage

F1 News

How Red Bull has clawed back Mercedes' COTA advantage

How Red Bull has clawed back Mercedes' COTA advantage

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has hailed those back at base in Milton Keynes for helping to close the gap to Mercedes overnight ahead of qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.

In opening practice on Friday, only Max Verstappen was within a second of either Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, and although Sergio Perez topped FP2 his time remained shy of the former's earlier best.

In FP3, Perez lowered the bar by a tenth of a second although Verstappen saw a time deleted for marginally exceeding track limits that was comfortably quicker.

With both the drivers' and constructors' championships finely poised, Horner heaped praise on the efforts of those behind the scenes for putting the team back into contention at a track where Mercedes has won five of the last six races.

“We’ve managed to hopefully make some good setup changes over the evening," Horner told Sky Sports F1 during final practice.

"You can see they seem to be working. The drivers seem happier with them.

“We’ve had good support from the simulator overnight. We’ve got Sebastien Buemi racking up the miles back in Milton Keynes around this circuit virtually, so it’s hopefully encouraging.”

Explaining the car characteristics that appear to have allowed Red Bull to catch and potentially move ahead of Mercedes, especially in the hands of Perez, Horner added: “It seems quite calm on the corner entry.

"That is what he doesn’t like but I think this calmness in the car is helping to generate that kind of lap time for him.

“So hopefully we can keep that in the car as conditions change this afternoon because it has been a strong weekend so far for Checo.”

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