Red Bull Racing hopes to take fight to Mercedes in Malaysia
Red Bull boss Christian Horner admits that he did not expect his drivers to outqualify Ferrari in Sepang after the red cars looked competitive over one lap earlier in the weekend.
Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will line up third and fourth on Sunday, and Horner remains optimistic that RBR can take the fight to Mercedes.
“That was more than we expected, especially after yesterday, when Ferrari looked very strong on the short runs,” said Horner. “Both drivers nailed very strong laps. Mercedes were just that much out of reach, but nonetheless to lock out the second row is a great performance.
“We expected this to be one of Ferrari’s stronger races. They won the Grand Prix here last year obviously, so it’s better than expected, and hopefully we can have a strong race tomorrow.”
This weekend, all the top runners are starting on the same soft tires, after red Bull tried different strategies in recent races. Horner says the key will be what tires are used in the first stint.
“We need good starts, and then get stuck into it from there. Let’s see. It’s going to be an interesting Grand Prix tactically, with what tires people out on at the first stop. It’s been cooler today, but it will be warmer tomorrow. It’s trying to find that balance.
“That’s why we did a race run around the race start time with Daniel in FP3, so we got some interesting data from that. The tires we have a pretty similar, so it will be interesting to see what people do at the first stop.”