Red Bull's Horner: McLaren didn't dominate, we underperformed

Sebastian Vettel

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes his team underperformed in the Australian Grand Prix, rather than McLaren being dominant.

Speaking after the season-opener in Australia he said his team had made up some lost ground after a disappointing qualifying session on Saturday.

He told BBC F1's technical analyst Gary Anderson: "It was a good recovery and we had good pace in the race. We were right on same pace as the McLarens.

"Mark [Webber] drove a great race. Overall it was a good recovery. We underperformed rather than McLaren being overly strong."

Fernando Alonso

In contrast, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh thought McLaren did have the upperhand over the 2011 champions.

"I think we were in reasonable control. The stop just before the safety car allowed [Sebastian] Vettel past Lewis [Hamilton], but all in all it was a great weekend for the team. We've proved we've got a quick car."

Force India's Paul di Resta earned one point for taking 10th place.

"We we're struggling a bit for pace, but seemed strong at the end of the race," he said. "My race engineer said, 'Just keep pushing and keep your nose clean - we could be in for a point here.'

"I saved a lot of KERS to get out of the last corner. I think considering the weekend we've had, coming out with a point is nice. But the out-and-out performance wasn't fast enough."

Pastor Maldonado so nearly earned Williams some badly needed points before crashing on the final lap.

"I'm a bit disappointed as I was doing a great race," he said.

"It's looking strong for the season, but we need to take the positive things and I'm looking forward to the next race. I feel confident with the car and the team."

Sauber had a great result, with Sergio Perez finishing eighth from his tough one-stop strategy - the same strategy he made his name with in Melbourne last year as a rookie.

Pator Maldonado crashes on the final lap

"It was a very difficult race. I had to save a lot of tyres," he said.

"But who said that, starting from last, we would manage eighth? We managed to do the whole race with one stop."

Kamui Kobayashi finished sixth despite racing with a damaged rear wing.

"It was a great result and for us," he said. "We finished sixth and with [the damaged] wing endplate we missed some downforce."

Ferrari enjoyed a recovery from their qualifying woes with Fernando Alonso's fifth place.

"We didn't lose too many points and now the priority is to improve the car. We had some interesting fights but not at the top, so we need to improve quickly," said the 2005 and 2006 world champion.

Sauber, Australian GP, 2012
Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez had a great race, finishing sixth and eighth respectively

After such a strong qualifying session, Mercedes' team boss Ross Brawn was disappointed with the result, saying: "We were a long way away from what we expected and we're very disappointed.

"Both drivers reported that the tyres were going away very quickly. We struggled with tyres thoughout the race."

But Brawn declared himself happy with the controversial aerodynamic design of the Mercedes W03: "We think it's OK. I'm not sure everyone fully understands what we're doing," he said.

"Innovation in Formula 1 is inevitable, and it should be allowed."

Australian Grand Prix 2012, day three

Sunday, 18 March:
Extended highlights on BBC One at 1400-1600

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