Max Verstappen's Spanish GP podium can kick-start his season, says Christian Horner
Verstappen seals first podium of F1 2018 with third in Barcelona; Horner optimistic for Monaco but says Red Bull need better qualifying results
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 13/05/18 6:24pm
Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen's Spanish GP podium finish can kick-start the Dutchman's season after a difficult beginning to the year.
Verstappen finished third at the Circuit de Catalunya to stand on the podium for the first time in F1 2018, holding off Sebastian Vettel in an injured Red Bull after he damaged his front wing in contact with Lance Stroll.
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The 20-year-old had made mistakes in each of the opening four grands prix and Red Bull team principal Horner thinks the result will give Verstappen a fresh confidence boost for the European races.
"It's a great booster for Max to stand on the podium for the first time this year," Horner told Sky Sports F1.
"He's had a difficult start to the season, so starting a new chapter in Europe I think will really settle him and send him on his way."
Verstappen's podium was helped by Kimi Raikkonen's retirement and Ferrari opting to pit Vettel for a second time, causing the German to slip from second to fourth.
Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo had lined up on the third row of the grid behind the two Mercedes and Ferraris and Horner once again conceded Red Bull were being made to pay for their lack of extra power in qualifying.
"I think we had a very fast race car again today. Our problem is we have got to do a better job on Saturdays, we have got to get further up the grid," Horner said.
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"Starting fifth and sixth, you are in the dirty air, you're in the mess at the start, and I think if we can just get a little higher up the grid then bigger results are going to come."
F1 next heads to Monaco in two weeks' time and Horner hopes Red Bull can take advantage of the famous Monte Carlo street circuit's twists and turns to be in the hunt for pole and victory.
"We're looking forward to Monaco. The car has been strong in sector three which is usually a good indication for a track like Monaco. Both drivers have always gone well around there. It's an opportunity for us."
Red Bull brought a comprehensive upgrade package to Barcelona and Ricciardo set a new race-lap record as he ended with the fastest lap of the race.
But Horner remained coy on whether the RB14's updates will enable them to change the pecking order at the head of the field.
"You can see that we have definitely made a step," he added. "It's going to take two or three races across different tracks to see how that is panning out."
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See the final word on all the Spanish GP action and latest F1 talking points on the next edition of the F1 Report - make a date with Sky Sports F1 on Wednesday at 8.30pm Get Sky Sports F1.