Red Bull Racing are now just five points behind the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team in the Constructors’ championship, after Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez recovered to second and fourth respectively at the Losail International Circuit.
It was an overall strong Qatar Grand Prix for Red Bull despite both of their drivers starting in unordinary positions. Verstappen started the race in seventh after being awarded a five-place grid penalty, and Pérez started eleventh.
Both made rapid progress through the pack after making excellent starts. Verstappen quickly found his way through the field and up to second, where he finished the race behind title-rival Lewis Hamilton who closed the gap to Verstappen down to just eight points.
Pérez took slightly longer to climb into the top five after starting further down, however he did eventually get himself up to fourth where he tried to chase down Fernando Alonso for third. Unfortunately for Pérez he couldn’t catch the Spaniard in time, a late VSC to recover Nicholas Latifi’s stricken car meant Pérez didn’t have the time to get onto the podium.
Red Bull would’ve happily taken second and fourth going into the race, especially with Valtteri Bottas retiring late on. Red Bull sit just five points behind Mercedes with two races to go.
Team Principal Christian Horner recognises that is was a big day for the team, he also apologised for a comment he made, for which he has been given an official warning from the FIA.
“Today was a big day, I think Max’s recovery on the first lap was stunning and his first two corners were sensational. Mercedes had a quicker car with Lewis today, but we were able to come back at them in the second and third stint. Whilst we haven’t got quicker, our straight-line speed was competitive today and the fact that Max was able to get the fastest lap before switching to softs was encouraging.
“Checo was unlucky not to finish on the podium today, I think without the VSC he would have been right with Alonso on that last lap, but he had a great drive and earned us some valuable team points. It’s been a long time since Fernando was on the podium so it was also nice to see him up there. We are now just five points behind in the constructors’ championship and eight points in front in the drivers’ championship, so there are two very big races to come and it’s all to play for. We are going to work hard next week and improve the car as much as we can and see what we can do in Jeddah.
“I’d like to make it clear that marshals do a wonderful job and our sport could not operate without them volunteering their time, so if any offence was caused I unreservedly apologise, my frustration was with the decision that had been made and not with any individual.”