Max Verstappen and Christian Horner ‘so pleased’ for Sergio Perez after ‘great job’ earns pole for Red Bull

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Christian Horner praised Sergio Perez for his pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Verstappen could only manage fourth place and during his qualifying session he complained that he had ‘zero grip’ recalling some of his complaints in Bahrain.

That first race of the season saw both Red Bulls drop out in the closing stages last week to see them end with no points at the end of the season, but both of their drivers now have a strong chance of finishing in the podium, and certainly in the points.

Speaking after the session, the world champion admitted: “It wasn’t an amazing Q3. My first set in Q3 were terrible. It was a completely different feeling with the tyres. I didn’t really feel comfortable.”

When asked about his teammate’s success, he said: “Checo did a great job today and I am very happy for him.”

Team principal Christian Horner was delighted for his driver, pointing out the experience of the Mexican.

“I’m just so, so pleased for Checo. After 215 races, it’s incredible. He’s working harder than ever and that lap was mighty,” he said.

“We could see it coming and coming, and the Ferraris put down such a competitive marker. For Checo to go do that, only the second time I think he’s out-qualified Max.

“To put in a lap like that, here at the hardest, most dangerous circuit that we go, it’s an unbelievable performance from him.

“I’m just so happy for him. He’s worked incredibly hard and I think that the car this year is more suited to his style, it’s not quite as quirky as last year’s car. He’s done a great job today.”

Red Bull’s usual challengers Mercedes again struggled with George Russell acknowledging that there are fundamental problems with the car despite taking third place with Lewis Hamilton last weekend.

“As a team it was not a good day. We don’t have a handle on the car at the moment. It has been a bit inconsistent. We are fighting for this very small window,” he said.

“You take your positives but it doesn’t help us in the long run.”