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Red Bull won't force support role on Verstappen

Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo
© XPB 

Red Bull Racing will refrain from asking Max Verstappen to support a title bid by team mate Daniel Ricciardo this year.

Ricciardo enjoyed his fifth consecutive podium finish in Austria last weekend, and while he is 64 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel, the Aussie is also 62 points clear of his team mate in the standings.

Verstappen has written off his title ambitions for this year, but Red Bull won't ask the Dutchman to take a back seat and race in the interests of Ricciardo to try and maximize the Aussie's title chances.

"We are not thinking about championships, we are thinking about getting performance on the car, and race-by-race events," said Horner.

"We don't consider ourselves to be contenders in this championship at this point of time. We want to go to every GP, give it everything we can and close the gap."

As it currently stands for Red Bull's drivers, Max Verstappen remains free to race his team mate as he pleases.

"If he [Ricciardo] was within 15-20 points, it is a different story," says Horner.

"But 64 points at not the halfway point of the season, you've got to be a fair optimist to start issuing team orders at that point."

The 19-year-old charger has endured a miserable streak of unreliability this season, with another mechanical issue sidelining him in Austria after he was the unwilling victim of a clash at the first corner.

But Horner is convinced Verstappen's fortunes will turn around. 

"What he is actually taking a lot of heart from is that the car is getting stronger and stronger and [Austria] was arguably our most competitive race this season – and certainly since Monaco and particularly on this layout of circuit.

"You can see all race that in sector two, which is the twisty bit, we were the fastest car throughout the Grand Prix compared to the Ferrari and the Mercedes there.

"So you can see that progress is coming – and when it does come his way, as is so often the way in sport, he could end up winning three races on the trot by not necessarily changing anything that he is doing. It will just turn for him."

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