17 March 2013
Horner lauds fantastic start to season
A front row lock-out was just the thing for RBR team boss Christian Horner after disjointed qualifying in Melbourne.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has praised his drivers for producing their best when it counted in the rescheduled qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix.
Although Sebastian Vettel had ruled the roost on Friday, neither RB9 looked entirely comfortable in the first phase of knock-out qualifying run before the rain took over at Albert Park, but the German was back on top when it mattered as the track continued to dry throughout Sunday morning.
Vettel twice appeared at the top of the times in Q3, initially vying with the two Mercedes drivers on intermediates before the dry line allowed everyone to fit slicks. Back in the conditions he enjoyed so much on the opening day, Vettel was an easy polewinner claiming his 37th top spot by four-tenths over team-mate Mark Webber.
“A fantastic way to start the season with a front row lock-out,” Horner admitted, “Both drivers delivered fantastic laps on their one and only lap on slick tyres. It's the best possible starting place with Sebastian on pole and Mark alongside him for the first race of the season. We've only got a few hours until the start of the race, so it's going to be a very busy afternoon for the mechanics.”
Vettel conceded that there wouldn't be much opportunity for celebration as he had to turn his attention to the race, which is due to start in little more than five hours after qualifying ended, but admitted that the result had surpassed his expectations.
“Obviously, I was very happy with the result but, with the adjusted schedule, we can't be too euphoric right now,” he acknowledged, “In a few hours, the race is coming up, so it's head down again to get on with that. Obviously though, it's a very good result for myself and the team and with Mark in second we have a front row – it's a surprise after not knowing where we were in winter testing.”
Webber could have secured his first home pole had it not been for a minor mistake at the final couple of corners, but praised the team for getting things right in spite of the revised schedule.
“I think with such intense conditions like yesterday and today, it's always easy to make a meal of it, but we didn't,” he noted, “It was slippery yesterday and we came back again today for a very short explosive session. It's all over in a flash [and] we needed to get things right. The weather can change very quickly here, so it's always hard to make a call - I would have liked two laps [in Q3] but we finished up the grid at the right end.”
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