say Pierre Gasly “desperately” needs to improve his performance in the second half of the season.

The Frenchman finished sixth in Hungary on Sunday and was lapped by team-mate , who finished second.

team principal said: “Pierre really needs to take some time out during the break, reflect, and take the lessons into the second part of the year.

“We desperately need him realising more of the potential of the car.”

Asked whether may need to replace Gasly, Horner said: “Our intention is to leave him in the car to the end of the year.”

Hungary was the second time in four races that Verstappen – who lost out at the Hungaroring to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton – has lapped Gasly, as it also happened when the Dutchman won in Austria at the end of June.

’s frustration is that Hungary provided an opportunity to close on for second place in the constructors’ championship, the results of which decide prize money at the end of the year.

But although Verstappen was a minute ahead of the s before a late pit stop to fit fresh tyres and take the point for fastest lap, Gasly was behind both – and was also beaten by ’s .

That meant and scored exactly the same points.

Gasly’s lack of performance also limited ’s strategic options in the fight with Hamilton – it meant the gap behind the two leaders was so big that the British driver had a more-than-sufficient gap to make the ‘free’ pit stop for fresh tyres that ultimately won him the race.

Had Gasly or the s been within 20 seconds of the leaders, that would not have been an option.

Horner said: “It’s been been a frustrating weekend for Pierre. The start wasn’t great, the first lap wasn’t great and we shouldn’t be racing Saubers [Alfa Romeos] and s. We need him to be racing s and .

“Everything we can do to try and help him achieve that is what we’ll do.”

He added: “It is vital for us, if we’re to stand any chance of catching , that we have him finishing further ahead.

“The problem is he’s not in the mix at all. So it’s not like if Le pitted he was going to come out behind him or anything like that. But [in Hungary] both and had ‘one-legged’ races with the team-mates out of contention.”

Who could replace Gasly?

are notoriously ruthless with drivers who do not perform to the required standard and Horner’s lukewarm endorsement suggests there is still a chance Gasly could be dropped before the end of the season.

But the difficulty for is the lack of obvious candidates to replace him.

Their junior team exists to blood young drivers in preparation for , with Gasly himself promoted after an impressive debut season with the outfit last year.

But has two drivers that on the face of it are unlikely candidates for .

Russian Daniil Kvyat is experienced, but he has already raced for and was dropped after four races of his second season in 2016 and replaced by Verstappen.

Kvyat was then sacked from the Red Bull programme altogether at the end of 2017, before being reinstated for this season when they had no drivers for .

But he has put in solid performances on his return, and scored an unlikely podium in the wet in Germany last month.

The other driver is Anglo-Thai Alexander Albon, who has impressed in his debut season this year by already performing at Kvyat’s level – and sometimes ahead.

Albon has obvious potential but would almost certainly think it was too early to promote him before the end of this season – and perhaps even as early as next year.

Last month, Horner said of Albon: “He’s doing a good job. He’s raw and he needs time. But I think he’s genuinely doing a pretty decent job in his rookie season.”

Beyond that, they would have to look to an experienced driver from another team, but that would probably have to wait until next season.


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