‘It’s fantastic’: Verstappen and Horner send ominous warning to Ferrari after Leclerc snatches pole

Red Bull ended qualifying second and fourth through Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, respectively, in Bahrain.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is elated that his Red Bull team were able to recover from an “intense” 2021 campaign to still be among the quickest under the brand-new set of technical regulations in 2022.

He also suggested that Max Verstappen would have been on pole had he not made a mistake on his hot lap.

Charles Leclerc claimed the 10th pole position of his career on Saturday at the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Verstappen splitting the two Ferrari cars as Carlos Sainz ended the evening third.

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Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez, meanwhile, rounded off the second row of the grid in fourth.

Horner notes that his Milton Keynes side are within extremely close proximity pace wise to Ferrari.

“[We are] very close, I mean Ferrari have been strong all winter,” he told Sky Sports.

“You could see it was going to be very tight between the two teams so Charles did a great lap at the end there and Max had a little bit of a wobble in the last corner I think and the margins are so fine but to start on the front row with such a big regulation change, we’re more than happy with that.

“It’s fantastic, I think for such a clean sheet of regulations… I think [the gap between] Checo and pole is what, three tenths.

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“So it’s nothing for such a big change and such radical differences between the cars so the race is going to be fascinating tomorrow to see if we can follow closer, if we can race closer so for us after such an intense year last year to turn up, qualify on the front row with this new car, Checo on the second row, we’re more than happy with that.”

However, as has often been seen, qualifying pace by no means defines race pace, and the 48-year-old will wait to see how Red Bull stack up against Ferrari over a race distance.

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“It’ a little bit of a voyage of discovery because we don’t really know how strong their long-run pace is,” he explained.

“We’ve got more to find out about ourselves. We had a decent run yesterday but it’s only going to be when the lights go out tomorrow that we really see what kind of shape we’re in, what’s the degradation like? How do these tyres respond? So that’s going to be really interesting.”

Reigning world champion Verstappen will be aiming to win the Bahrain Grand Prix for the very first time on Sunday, and in a post-race interview he suggested that Red Bull had the stronger race pace based on free practice long-run simulations.