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RBR: Monza will be our weakest track

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Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner expects his team to have a “tough” Italian Grand Prix and says its task will be to lose as little ground as possible to championship rivals McLaren and Ferrari.

Red Bull admits its Renault-powered RB6 is no match for the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 and Ferrari F10 in a straight line, with Horner estimating its power shortfall at 30-40bhp.

Given the importance of straightline performance at Spa, Horner was delighted with Mark Webber’s runner-up finish in last Sunday’s Belgian GP.

“You could see very, very clearly, even against the [Mercedes-powered] Force Indias, how much we struggle in a straight line,” he said.

“We knew Spa and Monza are McLaren territory and we just have to limit the damage, as we managed to do with Mark.

“Actually to come away with a second place was a very good result for us.”

Horner fears that Monza – F1’s fastest track, which requires a lower downforce set-up than Spa – will punish the RB6 more.

But he still thinks Red Bull should be able to salvage a decent result, and is confident the five subsequent venues will suit its car much better.

“Monza will be a tough weekend for us, for sure,” he said.

“But we knew that. Here we didn’t expect to be as strong as we have been; hopefully in Monza we can do likewise.

“We performed better than expected in Montreal and Valencia this year.

“And if you compare this with the tracks that McLaren have performed badly at – for example Hungary, where Mark lapped Jenson – at a track that doesn’t suit us, we still managed to get a second place out of it.

“I think Monza will be our weakest circuit of the year arguably, so a bit of rain there might be nice.

“And then we come back to circuits that will much more suit our car.

“Singapore, Japan… Korea has a very long straight, but Brazil and Abu Dhabi we were strong at last year.

“This championship will ebb and flow, there’s a long way to go, and I think whoever strings a succession of results together consistently and probably wins another one or two races between now and the end of the year will ultimately come out as the victor.”

When asked if he would settle for a repeat of the Spa result at Monza, Horner replied: “With Mark, yes; with Sebastian [Vettel] I hope we have a slightly less incident-packed race…”

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali felt Horner might be talking down Red Bull’s Monza chances a little too much.

“The weakest track for them? I would love to be in their position!” he said.

“You can tell Christian that.

“I would love to have the weakest situation for them in Monza. I don’t think so…

“I think they have a very good car, and the numbers speak for themselves.

“Let’s see if it’s just tactics or it’s true.”ITV-F1

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