Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has acknowledged that his outfit failes to unterstand why its car, the RB16 has behaved nervously so far during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
Red Bull has arrived with high hopes to the Hungaroring after Max Verstappen grabbed the pole position last year by posting a new track record around the 4.3 km circuit located near Budapest. However, the Friday practices forced the Milton Keynes based team to supervise its expectation for the weekend after Mercedes immediately appeared to be on another planet in terms of outright pace.
The qualifying session ended in a disaster for the multiple world champion team after Max Verstappen only qualified seventh while Alexander Albon’s session ended in Q2. Horner said that the team is yet to find answers for the lack of pace which has caught it by surprise.
“Today’s qualifying performance was not what we have come to expect as a Team and we simply didn’t have enough speed. There are some unexpected behaviours in the cars and we need to understand the cause of this quickly.
„Alex had a less than ideal out lap in Q2, with traffic hampering his run, and was unable to put in a time good enough to progress to Q3. Max made it comfortably through to Q3 on the soft tyre but just didn’t have the balance, and therefore the pace to set a time faster than P7. He tried to improve his lap time on a second Q3 run but with only one set of new softs available in that session he was unable to improve on a used set of soft tyres.”
For today’s 70-lap race around the Hungaroring, Horner sets sights on scoring as many points as possible. „We now have to work hard as a Team in order to get as much as we can out of the race tomorrow and ensure we have some points on the table and understand the car behaviour we are experiencing this weekend.”
The London-born Thai driver said that he lost the feeling he had during the final practice session, and a less than precisely timed last hot lap made the issues even more complicated.
“I don’t have much to say at the moment. It’s massively frustrating and obviously not the result we wanted, so we need to sit down and regroup. I didn’t do a good lap but to be honest a number of things didn’t go as planned today. I felt better with the car in FP3 than qualifying, but still we had traffic on our Q2 runs and so overall it’s been a tough day. It’s not very easy to overtake here so we’ll need some rain in tomorrow’s race to help our chances of moving further up the order.”
Red Bull used its first individual exception regarding the curfew rules on Friday to complete significant changes to its car on Friday afternoon following the disappointing Friday. Verstappen has revealed that the changes have failed to remedy the balance issues he has experienced since the start of the weekend.
“Obviously we are all disappointed with qualifying. I don’t know why but clearly something is not working compared to last year where we had really good car balance around this track. The weekend so far has been pretty tricky in general, it’s hard to understand why as we have changed a lot of things but it doesn’t seem to have given us a lot more lap time. Around here you really need a stable car which is very hooked in the second sector, but we are just not connected balance wise with oversteer and understeer,” he added.