Christian Horner says Red Bull was left with a bitter-sweet feeling after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix where Max Verstappen came home victorious but his teammate Sergio Perez had a ‘desperately disappointing’ outing.
Max Verstappen managed to clinch the win at the Jeddah circuit after a fight to the finish with the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.
The prancing horses seem to have taken the new regulations in their stride, creating a machine capable of much more than its 2021 predecessor as they head up the front of the field so far this season.
Following the Bahrain Grand Prix, where neither charging bull made it to the end of the race, Team Principal Horner praised Verstappen for his latest performance and said it was an incredibly ‘strategic race’:
“Yes, it was great to rebound after the issues we had, and what a great race. It was a very strategic race for Max, not taking too much out of the tyres to make sure he had enough to attack at the end, and some great racing between him and Charles; thankfully he had enough to hang on at the end,” he told the official Formula 1 website.
Praising the entire team working tirelessly back at the Milton Keynes HQ, Horner continued: “What I’m particularly pleased with is we probably came onto the development of this car later than our rivals.
“And the whole team in Milton Keynes, after the effort that went into [RB]16B last year, the lateness of that championship, the pressed time for this car, they’ve worked incredibly hard – this is just the kind of result that injects a whole bunch of energy into the factory.
“I think you can see there’s a big variance of interpretations of the rules and we’ve come up with a creative solution, and it gives us good potential for the season ahead, so to get this early victory is fantastic for the whole team.”
Meanwhile, Sergio Perez was dealt a major bout of bad luck at the intricate street circuit as he lost out on the chance at a win or podium after pitting just one lap before a Safety Car emerged.
He dropped to P4 after a quick pit exit saw him overtake Carlos Sainz, who was on track and ahead, and thus was told to concede third to the Spaniard in red.
Horner said the results for Perez were ‘desperately disappointing,’ but explained that it’s simply the luck of the draw in Formula 1 when it comes to strategy choices made during the race.
“Desperately disappointing for Checo, because, what an incredible lap yesterday to get that pole.
“He converted that into the lead, was controlling the race beautifully, we pitted on the lap that was discussed pre-race, and then bang: a Safety Car.
‘Sometimes they work for you, sometimes against you, and it was unlucky today.
“Checo had good pace at the beginning of the stint, was just starting to get tyre deg, we could see Charles [Leclerc, P2] getting within the undercut… then the Safety Car gives the others a free stop – desperately unlucky for Checo.”