Christian Horner felt Max Verstappen was able to drive around the driveability problems that faced Aston Martin Red Bull Racing at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, with the Dutchman securing a front row grid slot for the Singapore Grand Prix as a result.
Verstappen finished three-tenths of a second off the record-breaking pole time set by Lewis Hamilton, but he was able to beat both Scuderia Ferrari drivers as well as Valtteri Bottas to grab a spot on the front row of the grid. This was despite issues his Renault power unit throughout that the French manufacturer were trying to solve.
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was unable to match that kind of speed but was still inside the top six, with Horner revealing that the balance on the Australian’s RB14 seemed to change for the worse during the session rather than improve, which left him almost a second down on the outright pace when it mattered.
“After looking at the times in FP2 and FP3, for Max to finish on the front row in Qualifying today is a massive achievement,” said Horner. “He struggled with driveability issues during all three sessions which the Renault technicians tried hard to resolve.
“Max was able to drive around the issues in Qualifying and to end up on the front row is a fantastic effort. Daniel looked competitive in Q1 and Q2 but unfortunately the balance seemed to move away from him during the first Q3 run and although they reverted to the initial setting for the final run, sixth was the outcome.”
Horner feels both Verstappen and Ricciardo will have good cars in race conditions on Sunday, and he acknowledges that the start and strategy will be important to bringing home a good haul of points.
“We all know he [Ricciardo] loves street circuits so I’m sure he will be fighting hard to make up ground tomorrow with what we believe is a good race car,” said Horner.
“The start will be important and we know the Hypersoft has high degradation, so it will be fascinating to see the different strategies that everyone employs in the race.”