Before the qualifying session in the Red Bull garage there was a certain optimism. Although pole position has a relative value in Baku, the challenge is always felt, and both Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen started the session aiming for the maximum result.
Charles Leclerc’s masterpiece lap then cooled the enthusiasm and, as a good communicator, Christian Horner cut short, bringing attention to tomorrow’s race.
“I had the impression that Ferrari would have the advantage on the fastest lap – Horner clarified immediately – but in this first part of the season we have shown that our car is competitive on Sunday. We are on a track that allows overtaking, and we hope to be able to give them a hard time. On such a long straight the DRS is very powerful, and this generation of cars allows you to follow an opponent closely without any problems ”.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Based on the findings that have emerged so far, Red Bull’s confidence in tomorrow’s race is justified. The two RB18s proved to be faster than the two Ferraris in the third sector, and the two-kilometer straight seems to be an ideal hunting ground for Perez and Verstappen.
However, the margins are not as large as assumed on the eve of the weekend, and from the analysis of the results that emerged in qualifying, a gap of the order of one tenth emerges, a margin that without the help of the DRS does not allow you to overtake a Ferrari smoothly .
There is also another aspect that Red Bull will have to face in the pre-race briefing. Perez confirmed once again that the values that emerged from the comparison with his teammate have nothing to do with the verdicts of 2021.
He is another Checo, who has found with the RB18 a feeling that instead still seems to be lacking (in some respects) in Verstappen. However, there is one aspect in which Max unquestionably still makes the difference, and it is the pace he manages to have on cold tires, which is the situation that the riders face in the first lap of the race.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, at the Parc Ferme after qualifying
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
In view of tomorrow’s start, if Leclerc confirms himself as the leader at the exit of turn 1, he will have a good opportunity to extend in the driven section, the one in which Ferrari expresses itself at its best and the one in which Leclerc made the difference today.
Red Bull is well aware that at this juncture if Verstappen is behind Charles he will have a better chance of staying in the DRS area waiting for the mobile wing to be activated, but Max at the start will start behind Perez. If the team does not make everything clear in the briefing, we will have to observe very carefully how the two riders will behave from the start to the braking of turn 1.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18
Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
All in all Verstappen collected well the third position in qualifying, confirming that he has a lot of confidence in view of tomorrow, while Perez had to complain about a problem with his power unit that kept him in the pits for an extra minute before the start. last ‘run’ of Q3.
“When I got back on track I was alone – he commented – with no hope of being able to find a trail, and we know how important it is on this track. I think we have lost a few tenths for this reason ”.
“It was a shame – confirmed Horner – with a trail Checo would have been closer, but I don’t think we would have had the chance to do better than Leclerc”.
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