“I think we have Tsunoda’d,” says Christian Horner as Red Bull struggles to explain why they lost the lead over Mercedes; But the team and championship leader is still positive for the race with a long run to Turn 1; Watch the Mexico City GP live on Sky Sports F1 at 7pm
By Matt Morlidge
Last updated: 07/11/21 10:33 am
Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted that the Mexico City GP favorites “underperformed” in qualifying, but still blamed Yuki Tsunoda for ruining the final laps, while Max Verstappen called their Saturday a “terrible” but still positive for his battle against Lewis Hamilton in the race. .
Tipped to secure its first front-row lock of the season on Saturday, Red Bull instead only secured third and fourth places on the grid when Mercedes unexpectedly, and ultimately, comfortably took the top positions.
“I think we underperformed in Q3,” Horner told Sky F1.
“On our side, just a terrible classification,” added Verstappen in third place. “And then you deserve to be where you are.”
Red Bull had trouble explaining what caused their crash when they lost their half-second lead from practice, insisting that the last-minute changes to the rear wing were “preemptive” and that Mercedes was simply “too fast.”
But Horner lamented Tsunoda’s impact on his qualifying, as the Japanese rookie, who drives for Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri and was trying to get out of the way of Sergio Perez and Verstappen, inadvertently interrupted the pair’s laps as he exited. of the track in the middle sector.
“I think we have Tsunoda’d,” Horner said. “Both drivers were up on their last lap, Max went up two and a half tenths, I think Sergio was a little less than two tenths, and I don’t understand why he was doing laps in that part of the circuit.
“It is disappointing because it affected both drivers, they are both quite upset.”
Tsunoda, whom Verstappen called an “idiot” on team radio, responded Saturday night that he “couldn’t do more.”
Why Red Bull and Verstappen are optimistic for the race
But after that “terrible” Saturday comes an opportunity for Red Bull on Sunday, with pole position in no way an advantage for him. Mexico City GP: Live on Sky Sports starting at 7pm tonight.
The race to Turn 1 is one of the longest on the calendar at over 800 meters, giving the drivers behind a great opportunity to get towed and potentially get ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton in the Mercedes.
And Verstappen, who starts a place behind the man he leads by 12 points in the title race, insisted: “If I had to choose between second and third, I would choose third.”
Explaining Red Bull’s positivity, Horner said: “You still have Valtteri ahead of Lewis. And Lewis on the dirty side. [of the grid]Max is on the clean side.
“It will all depend on where they are after the first lap and then of course the strategy will come into play.
“We think we should have a fast race car here. I think we can still have a good race.”
However, Mercedes’ straight line speed advantage may still be a factor, as Horner was also looking towards a battle at Turn 1. Verstappen and Hamilton made contact at that corner in the final race of 2019.
“Yesterday we could see that they had addressed the engine problems that they had previously,” said the team leader. “They have good straight line speed here, so it’s going to be tough.
“I think the first chance here is at Turn 1, you just have to look at the 2019 replays to see it can get a little juicy there.
“The trailer is stronger on that first lap. The grandstand seats will be down there, we need to get a good start from both drivers and try to give it a spin.”