With heaps of speculation surrounding Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s performance-deficit after the so called ‘party-mode’ was banned for Monza, the Milton Keynes team have surpassed expectations and proved their RB16 is fast enough to qualify high up the order without the aid of powerful engine modes.
Red Bull appeared to struggle at last week’s Italian Grand Prix, with both cars qualifying below fifth. Yet, the cars seem to have found some much-needed pace this time out in Mugello– with Max Verstappen qualifying just behind the dominant Mercedes‘ in third whilst Alex Albon equalled his best performance on a Saturday to take fourth.
Team Principal Christian Horner was very pleased with the result, citing that Red Bull ‘extracted the most’ out of today’s Qualifying and reiterating his and the drivers excitement for the first race in Tuscany.
“It’s great to have both drivers up on the second row in qualifying with Max third and Alex fourth and we extracted the most out of the car today. We were just a couple of tenths shy of Mercedes but it was one of the closest sessions this year and hopefully we can race well from there.“
“Alex has had a strong weekend with his best F1 qualifying result to date which will provide him with confidence ahead of the race. We’ve been quick in sector three all weekend so our first opportunity will be on the run down to Turn One and then we will see what we can do from there.“
“It’s going to be interesting to see what affect the warm weather has on strategies and of course there’s no historic data here so you’ve got to be prepared to be reactive. The drivers are really enjoying this circuit, it’s a fast old school track so let’s hope it produces a great race tomorrow.”
Verstappen- “We are the closest we have been to Mercedes in qualifying”
After a disastrous race last time out under the Italian sun, Max Verstappen is very happy to be back near the front of the grid after what he surmised to be a ‘very good job’ in Qualifying.
“As a Team I think we did a very good job the whole weekend and from the start the car was in a good window which meant it was more about fine tuning. We are the closest we have been to Mercedes in qualifying so we can be happy about that and also the gap to the competition behind us is bigger.“
As for tomorrow, Verstappen is unsure as to whether or not the bulls can tussle for the lead, but he is characteristically fired up and ready for what he expects to be a thrilling race.
“ I have good hopes for the race and it is always difficult to predict whether we can fight for the win but I feel a bit more confident than some other weekends. I love this track so I’m really looking forward to the race.”
Albon happy to be making ‘constant progress’ in challenging RB16
In a car that many accuse of being too suited to Max Verstappen, Alex Albon has managed to equal his best grid spot in F1 and showcase his fast, aggressive and precise driving style to grab fourth and secure himself a VIP seat for all the action at the front.
The Thai driver believes it was a positive day for the team, and was quick to express his delight to race around the fast and dangerous Mugello circuit.
“It was a good, strong qualifying and driving these cars around this circuit on low fuel is just incredible. It’s crazy and it takes your breath away so I hope we continue with tracks like this in the future.”
“Qualifying fourth is my career best so I’m happy as we are making constant progress. Spa was good, Monza was better and here so far has been another step forward.”
Unlike the fans, however, Albon is hoping for a very subdued grand prix in which he hopes to bring the car home and secure some much-needed World Championship points to move upwards in the standings.
“Tomorrow, we’ll need to get a good, clean launch as it’s a long run to Turn One and then hopefully we can have a simple, boring race without any dramas.”