Horner praises Red Bull & Verstappen progress after beating Ferrari

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Christian Horner has touted Red Bull's progress after Max Verstappen claimed third at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Dutchman capitalised on the two Ferraris being slow through Turn 3 to jump behind the Mercedes on the opening lap.

Then, as Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc compromised each other, Verstappen made a dedicated two-stop strategy work to remain P3 and move up to third in the Drivers standings.

“I think we certainly were [the second fastest team] this weekend," Horner was quoted by Crash.net.

“We got the absolute maximum out of the car and Max’s first lap was outstanding. We had an aggressive strategy but we had the pace obviously to beat the Ferraris."

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What the result also showed to the Red Bull boss was how much progress had been made on the RB15 since Australia.

“Considering where we were at the pre-season tests eight or nine weeks ago, to have closed that gap and put that performance on the car, is really encouraging and obviously now we have to try and focus on diminishing the gap further to Mercedes," Horner said.

“We finished fourth in every other race and we’ve been close to the podium in the other Grands Prix.

“Certainly in Baku, we had the pace, and in Bahrain, there was a little bit of luck involved there and then bad luck with the Safety Car at the end.

“But five races in, our second podium with Honda, that’s another real positive," the Briton added.

"The performance is coming, this engine is performing well, it’s performing well in the races, and hopefully there’s more to come in coming races.”

It is Verstappen that has been the main driving force behind Red Bull this year, however, and his boss highlighted how disappointment last year in Monaco was the turning point.

“I think really, in the last 12 months since Monaco last year, he’s selected another gear,” Horner claimed.

“His performance has been phenomenal and he has extracted every ounce of performance out of the car. He races so strongly.

“It was a really intelligent first couple of corners and then a very brave pass on Sebastian around the outside of Turn 3.

"I think he’s really showing his maturity and composure in the car. He was trading a tenth on every lap and that’s been remarkable.”