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Formula 1

‘Annoyed’ Horner chastises Perez over Austrian GP Q2 exit

by Jack Cozens
3 min read

Christian Horner says Q2 was “not the time” for Sergio Perez to be testing track limits in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying and that Red Bull’s Friday was “not complete” as a result of Perez’s exit, despite Max Verstappen clinching pole position.

Perez set three laps in Q2 that were fast enough to have got him through to the final part of qualifying but on each occasion he strayed beyond track limits.

The result was a fourth-straight failure to get into Q3 for Perez, stretching back to the Monaco GP five weeks ago.

Red Bull team principal Horner, who said he had not yet spoken to Perez, could not hide his frustration at the Mexican’s latest Q2 exit considering the pace he had shown at the Red Bull Ring.

“He’s got a car that was easily capable of being on the first or second row, he was matching Max’s times; stay in the white lines,” stressed Horner, speaking to Sky Sports F1.

“It was strike one; strike two – ‘Checo, just stay in the white lines’; strike three, and that was it.

Sergio Perez Red Bull Austrian GP F1

“It’s hugely frustrating because he could have been there, he could have done it. So that’s the frustration. It’s fantastic to have got the pole, but it feels… not complete.”

Perez’s final Q2 effort, one that would have put him within half a tenth of team-mate Verstappen, was struck off for a breach exiting Turn 10, while his other offences had come at the previous turn as he set himself up for the final corner.

He cited the position of Alex Albon’s Williams up ahead, and having to go “straight; I could not stop” as a result, as the reason for his final misdemeanour and said he had actually lost time as a result.

“There’s so many things I can control, unfortunately this one [I can’t],” said Perez. “You’re closing a good lap and then all of a sudden you are blocked and you have a penalty. I think the system is wrong.”

Sergio Perez Red Bull F1 Austrian GP

Horner accepted that was “not going to have helped”.

“But then you build in a little bit more margin,” he added.

“We’ll turn the page, he’ll race hard tomorrow, but it’s just annoying because we know he could have been there.”

Perez asked over the team radio once he’d been told of his final track limits offence whether he had another attempt, but Horner said it was “crystal clear” to his driver that it would be his final lap in the session.

“The frustrating [thing is] we know he can do it,” said Horner, again stressing the margin Perez had available. “He did a 1m04.9s and on that lap, he was three hundredths off Max; he could have been four tenths slower and still been in.

“In Q2, that’s not the time to be doing it. So that was the frustrating thing because he could have done it today.”

Verstappen also had a track limits warning after his first lap in Q2 was struck off, but Horner said he had responded to Red Bull’s message to keep his RB19 within the track limits.

Max Verstappen Red Bull F1 Austrian GP

“He built a conservatism into his laps to make sure that he had a wheel inside the line and I think there was a little bit more time in the car, in that last sector,” he said. “So, it was driving with a bit of restraint.

“He got caught out a couple of times with the limits, [but] rowed it back in,” he later added.

“And the most frustrating thing for a driver is to drive within the car, especially within qualifying. So, great discipline, great mental discipline again from him today.”

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