No vulnerability at Red Bull: ‘Circumstances were different than during training’

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No vulnerability at Red Bull: 'Circumstances were different than during training'

Despite his dissatisfaction with the qualifying round, Max Verstappen managed to win again during the Japanese Grand Prix. No one seemed to get in his way at the Suzuka circuit. This left nothing of the so-called vulnerability of Red Bull Racing that the other teams had hoped for this weekend, writes Auto, Motor und Sport in the Rennanalyse.

Friday in Suzuka was messy, mainly due to sudden rain during the second free practice. The Red Bull team decided to stay indoors and on Saturday Verstappen and teammate Sergio Pérez were not able to set very good times. Ferrari was just as hopeful, but a different adjustment to Verstappen’s car turned the tide for the Austrians.

Changed conditions on the track

Before the start of the race in Japan, the Red Bull team decided to adjust the wing position of Verstappen’s car. During the first stint, Verstappen was not yet satisfied with the setup. He made this clear to racing engineer Gianpiero Lambiase via the now much-discussed on-board radio, in which Lambiase was right.

The crash of Williams driver Alexander Albon and VCARB driver Daniel Ricciardo therefore suited Verstappen well. The red flag that was in effect for 28 minutes after the race gave the Austrian racing team the opportunity to adjust the wing position again. The changed conditions on the track compared to Friday and Saturday benefited the team. ‘We were able to adjust the settings of the front wing again. The conditions on the track on Sunday were slightly different than during training,” team boss Christian Horner said.

Verstappen calmly, Pérez had to fight

During free practice and qualifying, the two Red Bull drivers were still fairly close to each other when it came to lap time. During qualifying, the difference between the Limburger and the Mexican was only 66 thousandths. However, the small gap between the two drivers did not last during the race. It soon became clear that a victory was too ambitious for Pérez. With Lando Norris’ McLaren behind him, the Mexican had to fight harder than his teammate during the race.

‘The balance wasn’t quite right for me in the first stint. Then Lando (Norris) came through the undercut and I had to push harder than I wanted during the second medium stint,” Pérez said after the race. Together with the crash of Albon and Ricciardo, this was enough reason according to Auto, Motor und Sport to speak of a relaxing afternoon for Verstappen.

Bet Pérez and Horner

It was the first time for Pérez to be on the front row at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix. Before qualifying, the Mexican made a bet with Horner about this. ‘He has never been better than fourth on the grid here. He had bet that he would make it to the front row,” the team boss said. Pérez won the bet, but he did not keep the money. ‘Funnily enough it was the same amount he owed Bernie Ecclestone. So he transferred the bet to Bernie,” says Horner.

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