Christian Horner is satisfied with Max Verstappen’s second place on the grid in Qatar, but disappointed with Sergio Pérez’s eleventh fastest time. But even now he is still involved with Mercedes. According to him, the new test for the rear wings has already had an effect: “I think their top speed is a bit less.”
“Lewis squeezed out a great lap, that last lap was very fast,” Horner admits at Sky Sports. Verstappen had to settle for the second fastest time, Pérez disappointed and ended up in eleventh place in Q2. “We have Max on the front row, unfortunately Pérez is not there. It’s disappointing that he didn’t make it to Q3. We have a chance in the first corner. But that last lap from Lewis was incredibly fast,” said the Briton.
The top speed of the Mercedes was still a big theme prior to the weekend. Red Bull would be ready to protest if they again noticed that the top speed of that car was much better. The rear wing is said to be too flexible and sag on the straights, causing the car to generate less drag and achieve a higher top speed. Since this weekend, the FIA has introduced a new test to test the rear wings. According to Horner, that test has done its job.
“I think their top speed is a bit less,” he says. “It seems similar to ours, which is good to see. He won in turn 6 and 7 in particular, the slower corner section. Top speed looks normal, it was just a strong lap from Lewis,” he admits again. “The new test has done its job, because the top speed looks normal. It’s not necessarily about this track, but rather about Jeddah and Abu Dhabi. You have a big advantage there with a good top speed,” explains Horner.
With a Red Bull in second and eleventh place, Horner knows it will be a tough race for the team. He still believes in the chances of Verstappen, who can take the lead with a good start in the long run to turn 1. “You can’t keep up very well in the race, especially with the speeds of these corners. It comes down to strategy, tire wear and pit stops. It’s about that run into Turn 1.”
“It’s disappointing to be second, but we could also be third. Max got everything out of it. Hopefully we have a better car in the race. The first 500 meters will be crucial. Max is Max. If Max sees a hole, he goes for it. I can guarantee that,” said the Red Bull team principal.