Christian Horner was pleased with the ‘great’ team performance by Red Bull Racing in Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday, with Max Verstappen taking a third consecutive pole position and Sergio Pérez ending up third.
Horner, the Team Principal at Red Bull, revealed Verstappen was not happy with his performance during Q3, and the desire to improve saw him unknowingly give a tow to Lando Norris that almost saw the McLaren F1 Team driver beat him to top spot.
Just 0.048 seconds separated Verstappen from Norris, but ultimately the Dutchman was able to take top spot to give Red Bull three consecutive pole positions for the first time in eight years.
“Today was a great Team performance,” said Horner. “It’s our first triple pole since 2013 and Max’s first, plus it’s great to have Checo up there in P3 giving us a great chance with both cars tomorrow.
“Max is always looking for that little bit extra and he was frustrated as he felt there was more in the car in Q3.
“He had a slight lock-up on the first run so we wanted to give him clean air for the second which meant he ended up at the front of the queue, creating a hole in the air that gave Lando behind him a slight tow making the margin very small, but nonetheless a phenomenal performance once again from him.”
Horner says it was important to get both drivers through to Q3 using the medium Pirelli tyre, as it will open up the options on strategy. However, with tyres a step softer this weekend compared to last, it is unclear to whether the race will see a one or two stops being the better option.
“It was clear that we wanted to get both cars through on the medium tyre which is what we achieved, so let’s see what the weather brings tomorrow with the colder temperatures and threat of rain,” he said.
“The tyres are also a step softer so there will be a lot of discussion tonight around whether the race is a one or two stop.”
Horner also praised the fans for creating such an atmosphere, particularly when the majority of the past fourteen months or so of racing have been lacking when it came to fans in attendance.
“You forget the atmosphere the fans bring, it seems so long since we’ve had them at the track,” said Horner. “Max has got such a large, loyal following, and you could hear the noise when he got pole no matter where you were on the circuit.
“It’s great for Formula 1 to see the fans back so let’s hope we can deliver a great result for them tomorrow.”