Horner Explains Why Red Bull F1 Drew Verstappen’s Ire at Austrian GP Qualifying

Published 07/03/2021, 11:05 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying in pole position with McLaren’s Lando Norris Pool via REUTERS/Christian Bruna


Max Verstappen showed brilliant pace throughout the afternoon under the scorching sun at the Red Bull Ring to secure his third consecutive pole position of this season.

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However, in the process, he also handed Mercedes further chaos by unintentionally launching Lando Norris at them. The Briton enjoyed a healthy tow from the poleman to lock out the front row for Sunday’s race at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying in pole position Pool via REUTERS/Christian Bruna

But it wasn’t before Norris almost gave Verstappen and possibly the entire F1 community a heart attack. It was a nail-biting final few moments for Red Bull, as Norris, at one point in his lap, was much quicker than Verstappen, and a McLaren pole looked gettable.

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And the Red Bull garage could heave a sigh of relief only after Norris completed his lap, which ended up being just 0.048s slower than the Dutchman. Christian Horner, Red Bull’s boss, reckoned that Verstappen wasn’t happy with the team’s decision to send him out on an empty track for the final Q3 run.

What did Christian Horner say?

During the post-qualifying interview, Horner revealed that Verstappen struggled a bit behind the tow. And that ultimately forced the team to give him a much freer track during the second Q3 run.

Yeah, with Max, he’s always looking for that little bit more, and I think he felt there was more in the car today. He had a slight lock-up on the first run. So, we wanted to give him clean air for the last run. And that meant he ended up at the front of the queue,” he said.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates qualifying in pole position REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

And when you’re at the front of the queue, you’re creating the hole in the air. That gave Lando Norris, behind him, a slight tow. So, that’s what he was a little frustrated about at the end there,” Horner added.

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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez hand Red Bull strong starting positions

While Verstappen constantly topped the sheets through Q1, Q2, and Q3, there was Sergio Perez, whose struggles were quite evident.

However, the Mexican rose up to the occasion when it mattered the most; he beat both the Mercedes drivers to secure a strong P3 in qualifying. Horner, too, was quite pleased with the result, as he lauded the two-time GP winner.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying in pole position with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez Pool via REUTERS/Christian Bruna

A phenomenal performance to have Checo up there as well ahead of the Mercedes. A great team result,” the Red Bull team principal said.

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Lewis Hamilton will be starting alongside Perez from P4, with Bottas behind Perez from P5. Hence, with Verstappen so far ahead, both the Mercedes drivers are likely to be aggressive, going into turn 1 in a bid to close in on the championship leader.

But, how far are they going to succeed in the pursuit of glory against the blistering Red Bull duo and the unexpected guest from McLaren?

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Watch Story: Mad Max: Verstappen’s Angriest Rants on Team Radio

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Rohit Kumar

941 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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