2023 Saudi Arabian F1 GP: Red Bull boss insists Max Verstappen has a ‘mountain to climb’

F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia - Qualifying
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner in the garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 18, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen has a long race in Saudi Arabia ahead of him after a frustrating qualifying result. The Briton felt that Sergio Perez needs a clean race and perfect execution while the Dutchman will have a challenging race from 15th place on the grid.

Expressing his views on Red Bull’s qualifying result ahead of the Saudi Arabian GP, Horner said on Saturday:

“A tale of two qualifying sessions out there today. Firstly, a brilliant performance from Checo. He drove incredibly well and put down a fantastic lap which sees him on pole; his second pole here in Jeddah, back to back. On the other hand, its hugely frustrating for Max. A drive shaft failure knocked him out of qualifying when we were really just getting started in Q2.
"His lap in Q1 would have put him in P4 for the race tomorrow. It is a real shame, but we are already in the process of understanding the issue. Max has a mountain to climb from 15th, but knowing Max, he will rise to the challenge and it will certainly be interesting to see what he achieves. For Checo, it's about sticking with the strategy, staying out of trouble and surviving those early laps. Plenty of action to come and plenty to look forward to.”

The reigning champion qualified 15th for the race, after he got knocked out of Q2, due to a broken driveshaft. The Red Bull team is confident that the Dutchman will surge up the grid through the race but wished both cars had top grid positions for the race.

Max Verstappen discusses reasons for poor qualifying, feels it will be an unpredictable race

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen stated that the driveshaft on his car broke during the qualifying without warning, leading to him getting knocked out of the second session. The Dutch champion also mentioned that his car was operating well throughout the weekend and there were no signs of any issues with it until Q2.

He feels the race in Jeddah will be very unpredictable and they have their work cut out. Speaking after the qualifying session of the Saudi Arabian GP, Verstappen said:

“The driveshaft broke out of turn 10 on the right rear, so that was it for qualifying. It happened really out of the blue. We hadn’t had any issues before that. It was annoying because the car was good up until then. I was comfortable in every session and every time I was on the track. I was quick, so for sure, we could have fought for pole.
"Instead, we now have a bit more work ahead of us tomorrow but it is what it is, it is a long Championship and we will stay positive. I think a win is tricky from that position but I will try to score as many points as possible. It will be hard to get to the front, but we won’t give up. Anything is possible at this track. We have seen some crazy things here, but we have to be realistic. It will be tough but we have good pace so, for sure, we will move forward.”

Starting 15th on the grid, it will be a long race for the double champion, therefore a clean race without problems will be key to nailing a good result.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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