Christian Horner admits Red Bull front row ‘lucky’ following Q1 close call

Thomas Maher
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez almost failed to make it through Q1 for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Christian Horner has explained that, with hindsight, Red Bull were lucky to get Sergio Perez through Q1 in qualifying for the Chinese GP.

Sergio Perez claimed second place on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix, making it an all-Red Bull front row in Shanghai as he finished 0.322 seconds behind teammate Max Verstappen.

Christian Horner: Red Bull a ‘little bit lucky’

But Perez’s day almost came to an end at the very start of qualifying, with the Mexican driver scraping through Q1 as he only placed 15th and just 0.048 clear of the elimination zone.

The Mexican driver only did one run in Q1, having come out on track on soft tyres at the start of qualifying only to abort his initial flying lap. Coming back out to try again on the same tyres, Perez’s one and only time of 1:35.547 initially had him in sixth place – only to fall back to 15th as others improved due to the track evolution.

Speaking after the session, Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted the team had been lucky to get the Mexican driver through Q1.

“Well, the track was evolving quickly and I think with hindsight, we probably should have run another new set of tyres,” he told Sky F1.

“But we were stacking them up for later in qualifying. The track was ramping up, you’d like to say it was perfect judgement, but we’ve got a little bit lucky to make sure that we were within the cut.” recommends

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Sergio Perez: I nearly got knocked out in Q1

Having weathered the close call and going on to claim second on the grid, Perez explained qualifying from his perspective after securing the Red Bull 1-2.

“It was very intense,” he said in the post-qualifying interviews.

“I nearly got knocked out in Q1, I had traffic with one of the Williams, I had to abort my lap, came back, went on hot used tyres, and just made it through, P15.

“It was a very messy start to qualifying. And then Q2 was a little bit more straightforward, I could really get a read into the balance.

“We were making some nice progress through the session.

“Unfortunately, in the end, it was just not enough to get Max but, overall, it’s a tremendous team result because the track has changed a lot. We changed a lot the car as well to adapt to the conditions, so hopefully, that will also pay out tomorrow.”

Having secured a podium in the Sprint race, Perez said he hopes to continue his strong weekend on Sunday.

“I think it’s everything to play for tomorrow [Sunday],” he said.

“We can be fighting from there. We can definitely have a strong rhythm. We showed today we have fairly good pace in the long runs, so I look forward to tomorrow.”

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