Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner says Daniel Ricciardo’s lap to claim pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix “came from nowhere”.

Max Verstappen looked favourite for pole having set the pace across all three practice sessions and topped the timesheets after the opening runs in Q3, but Ricciardo turned in a sublime lap late on to pip his teammate by just 0.026s.

It marked Red Bull’s first front-row lockout of the V6 hyrbrid era which began in 2014.

Renault Vs Red Bull

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“Where did that lap come from? It was mighty,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “He’s been a couple of tenths off all weekend and then suddenly on that last set of tyres, boom!

“It was just absolutely perfect. Second and third sector he just nailed it. It sort of came from nowhere really!

“You could hear how happy he was on the slow down lap so really pleased for him. After his bad luck, I’m so happy for him.”

Verstappen blamed a braking problem in his Red Bull car for a “crap” qualifying result, and Horner said he can understand his driver’s frustrations given he missed out on the chance to become F1’s youngest ever polesitter.

“Realistically this was probably the best and only chance for Max to take that record so he is going to be feeling that,” Horner explained.

“But to have two Red Bull cars on the front-row, our first time since Austin since 2013, for the team it’s just phenomenal.

“You know, they have the same car, same opportunity. Daniel did the better job in Q3 and he deserves the pole. All credit to him.”

Horner believes the result vindicates Red Bull’s decision to take engine penalties earlier in the season to ensure it had a trouble-free weekend in Mexico, a race it had long targeted as being winnable.

“I said coming to this event, this altitude of race brings the engines closer within the bracket of Mercedes and Ferrari,” he said.

“We’ve got a great car, we’ve got great drivers, and it’s been well executed today. We just need to try and convert it into a big result tomorrow.”



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