Red Bull Racing collected 31 points at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Interlagos yesterday.
However, after leading 1-2 in the early stages, they couldn’t convert it thanks to the pace of Lewis Hamilton and his W12, finishing P2 and P4. Hamilton overtook both Red Bulls on track as he took a comfortable win.
Sergio Perez was also unlucky as a badly timed VSC for him allowed Bottas to take P3.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 following Hamilton’s win, Horner said the Mercedes was unraceable.
''I think it was unraceable today,'' he said.
''We put up as a big a defence as we could. You know Max did his best, he raced hard but there was just no chance today.
''It’s a tough one having led probably 75% of the race but we’ll brush ourselves down and come back fighting in a week’s time.''
Mercedes’ rear wing and straight-line speed was a huge topic over the weekend, as Hamilton’s new ICE proved to be decisive in his battle with Verstappen for the win.
Horner admits their speed on the straights is really impressive as Red Bull continue to try and figure out the advantage.
''The straight-line speed is really impressive,'' he said.
''That new engine... they’ve got a Monaco rear wing on here so it’s very very impressive and of course for Max he can’t defend against that.
''Any other driver had to be within .4 of a second to get anywhere near an overtake; the Mercedes were here .9 of a second and they could be in the braking area at the end of the straight.
''That’s a very potent weapon with some very fast tracks coming up in the last three races.
''We won’t be protesting [the Mercedes] at this race,'' he continued.
''It’s important to understand where the speed has come from. Obviously they’re running Monaco levels of downforce and yet when he passed Max he was close to 30 kilometres an hour quicker on that lap.
''It’s something that we need to understand and it’s down to the FIA to police the sport, to govern it.
''We trust in them, their tests and their investigation.''
Pushed on whether Verstappen felt something on the Mercedes rear wing after he touched it post-qualifying, Horner wouldn’t go into details.
''It’d be inappropriate for me to comment... but there’s quite a significant difference.''
With three races to go, Red Bull lead the Drivers’ Championship by 14 points but trail Mercedes by 11 points in the Constructors’ standings. Horner says Red Bull won’t give up despite Mercedes’ scary pace at Interlagos.
''It really depends on the type of circuit [if they can hold on in the Drivers’ Championship] because as we saw today that car [Hamilton’s] was unraceable,'' he said.
''I thought Max did a hell of a job; 75% of the race to have Lewis with the speed that he had [and keep him] behind.
''We’re gonna fight, we’re gonna give it everything we’ve got. We’ve worked so hard to get to this position.
''Mercedes has never been in this position; they’ve won and dominated [the previous seven seasons]. It’s all been done by now.
''We’re pushing them as hard as we can and we’ll push them as hard we can all the way until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.''