The Red Bull Formula 1 team has admitted Pierre Gasly’s lack of results is now starting to “hurt” its ambitions.
While team-mate Max Verstappen claimed pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix and led the majority of the race before losing out to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Gasly slipped back at the start and finished a lap down in sixth, behind McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner did not hide his disappointment at Gasly’s performance, saying a car that showed race-winning pace should not be trapped in midfield fights.
“It has been a frustrating weekend for Pierre,” said Horner.
“The start wasn’t great, the first lap wasn’t great, and we shouldn’t be racing Saubers [Alfa Romeos] and McLarens.
“We need him to be racing Ferraris and Mercedes, and everything we can do to try to help him do that, we will do.”
Gasly’s absence from the lead pack meant Verstappen had no safety net against Hamilton, who was effectively able to make a free second pitstop for fresh tyres that allowed him to overhaul the leading Red Bull for victory.
“The problem is he is not in the mix at all,” said Horner.
“It is not like if Lewis pitted he was going to come out behind him [Gasly].
“Both Mercedes and Red Bull had one-legged races with their team-mates out of contention.
“Not having two cars running at the front does hurt us, particularly in the constructors’ championship.
“We have scored the same amount of points as Ferrari on a track where we should have taken more out of them.”
Horner said he hoped Gasly could use the summer break to try to get to the bottom of what has gone wrong this year.
“I think he really needs to take some time out during the summer break, reflect on the first half of the season and take the lessons from that into the second half of the year,” he said.
“It is vital for us if we are to stand any chance of catching Ferrari that we have him finishing further ahead.”
While Red Bull is still hoping Gasly can improve and achieve the results it needs, Horner suggested the team’s patience is starting to run out given second place in the constructors’ championship is potentially at stake.
Asked at what point Red Bull may have to do something if Gasly does not improve, Horner said: “Our intention is to leave him in the car until the end of the year.
“But we desperately need to see him realising more of the potential of the car.”