Formula 1

Red Bull’s Christian Horner: “The first 500m are going to be crucial”

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Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Christian Horner says he is pleased to see Max Verstappen on the front row for the Qatar Grand Prix, but he believes the run to the first corner could be the decisive moment of Sunday’s race.

With overtaking looking like it will be difficult around the Losail International Circuit, Horner says the start and the run down to the first corner could have big ramifications for the race, with the Team Principal of Red Bull Racing hoping Verstappen can get the jump on title rival Lewis Hamilton.

“It’s great to be on the front row with Max, he got the maximum performance out of the car today and has an opportunity down into turn one tomorrow, but it’s going to be very difficult to follow closely after that with the speed of these corners and mount an overtake,” said Horner. 

“So the first 500m are going to be crucial and then it will come down to strategy, pit stops and reliability, all of those factors, and the tyres are under constant load at this track, so it’s going to be fascinating to see how they last tomorrow.”

Whereas Horner was pleased to see Verstappen on the front row, he was disappointed to see the Red Bull of Sergio Pérez eliminated from Qualifying in Q2, with the Mexican set to start the race down in eleventh.

However, he believes Pérez can make progress on Sunday, and he is excited to see title rivals Verstappen and Hamilton on the front row.

“It’s a shame not to have Checo in the top ten, but it’s a long Grand Prix and he can still be a very important factor for us in the race tomorrow,” said the Team Principal.  “With both title contenders starting next to each other it should be a great race.”

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