Horner hails Verstappen’s “absolutely insane” Abu Dhabi F1 pole lap

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has described Max Verstappen’s pole lap for Formula 1’s title showdown as “absolutely insane”.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B.
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Verstappen stunned everyone to claim his 10th pole position of the season ahead of F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton, having been on the backfoot in practice and the prior qualifying segments.

In a bid to combat Mercedes’ straight-line speed performance, Red Bull has opted for a skinnier rear wing and thus less downforce.

Despite running less downforce, Verstappen was incredibly fast in the final sector of the lap with Horner calling the lap ‘one of his best of the year’.

“I think that’s one of Max’s best laps of the year,” Horner said. “Even on the following lap that we got him to back off on, he matched the time [without a tow].

“The tow was probably worth a tenth, a tenth or two, not half a second and I think that his last sector, when you look at the level of downforce he’s got on is insane, absolutely insane.”

Horner praised Sergio Perez for the role he played in Verstappen securing pole, having given him a slipstream on his first Q3 effort on the run down to Turn 9.

“We discussed the slipstream this morning and we lowered the downforce,” Horner explained. “It was the only way of matching these guys on the straights.

“I must admit after Q1 I thought ‘wow, those kinds of times that Lewis was knocking, we can’t do that’ but then Q2 came more towards us, we had a lock-up on the medium which wasn’t ideal so that forced us to take the soft and then both runs in Q3 were exceptional and of course that tow, Checo working with his teammate to give that tow down the two straights were absolutely perfect teamwork today.

“I think Checo has been the dutiful teammate. He sacrificed an optimal lap for him to give his teammate that performance. You can’t ask for more than that so to put it on the pole… now we’ve got to convert that tomorrow.”

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