BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Red Bull boss Christian Horner said it is vital Pierre Gasly uses Formula One's upcoming summer break to get his head in the right place in order to rectify his woeful form.
Gasly endured another horrible weekend at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he finished sixth behind McLaren's Carlos Sainz on an afternoon teammate Max Verstappen diced with Lewis Hamilton for victory. After 11 races of 21 this year Gasly has just 63 points to Verstappen's 181.
Gasly's form was even the butt of a joke from Hamilton after the race, when the five-time world champion playfully suggested to Verstappen that Fernando Alonso would make a better teammate. Horner hopes Gasly can use the four weeks away from F1 before the Belgian Grand Prix on September 1 to reset.
"It's been a frustrating weekend for Pierre," Horner said after the race. "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 help him to achieve that is what we will do."
When asked if there was any hope for Gasly to save his seat, Horner replied: "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. It's vital for us if we are to stand any chance of catching Ferrari that we have him finishing further ahead."
On Gasly's future, Horner insisted the team remained committed to the Frenchman, but finished that statement with what seemed like an important clarification.
"Our intention is to leave him the car until the end of the year. But we desperately need to see him realising more of the potential of the car."
Horner offered a good insight into why Gasly's form has been so difficult for Red Bull to show extended patience in, referencing the key pit-stop Hamilton and Mercedes made on Lap 48 which ultimately swung the balance in their favour.
"The problem is [Gasly] is not in the mix at all, so it's not like if Lewis pitted he was going to come out behind him or anything like that. But today, both Mercedes and Red Bull had one-legged races with the teammates out of contention.
When it was put to him that Red Bull have had far more one-legged races than Mercedes this year, he simply said: "Yeah, absolutely"
He added: "Obviously not having two cars running at the front does hurt us, particularly in the constructors' championship where we scored the same amount of points as Ferrari today on a track where we should have taken more out of them."
Verstappen's heroics this year have helped Red Bull keep within striking distance of Ferrari in the fight for second position, although the Italian team still leads that battle 288 points to 244.