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Christian Horner

Horner hails Verstappen: He's been on fire this weekend!

The Red Bull boss praised his World Champion driver for a dominant qualifying at Spa despite a penalty costing him pole position.

Verstappen Belgium
To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has hailed Max Verstappen's dominance in Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying, saying he was "on fire".

Verstappen crushed the field with a 1m:43.655s lap in Q3 at Spa-Francorchamps - the only driver to come anywhere near dipping under the 104 second barrier, with Carlos Sainz next best but over six-tenths behind.

Despite winning qualifying for what would have been a 17th career pole position, Verstappen will drop to 15th on the grid following engine penalties.

Horner was still optimistic that Verstappen could climb through the field to take a strong result, especially with nearest title challenger Charles Leclerc starting behind.

Verstappen on fire - Horner

"The pace that he had, the lap time was so good, and he didn't need to do the second run," explained Horner about Verstappen to Sky Sports F1 post-qualifying.

"So, we saved the engine mileage, and [a] phenomenal performance, [especially in] Q2 on that scrubbed set of tyres.

"He's been absolutely on fire this weekend. So a hard fight for P15, but, at least it's not last.

"Psychologically, it's always good to be able to get out of the car after the first run in Q3 and think that you've done enough.

"But of course it is all about tomorrow, starting in the middle of the pack, there's always risks associated with that, but I think we're set for a fantastic race tomorrow.

"With Max and Charles finding the way through the field I think with Checo perfectly poised to take on Carlos at the front as well. So there's going to be a lot to keep on top of tomorrow."

Horner pleased with Perez in second

Despite missing out on pole position with Sergio Perez, Horner is pleased with the second Red Bull riding shotgun on the front row of the grid - given the historic advantage of that slot on the first lap.

"Ironically, pretty much any other circuit I'd say no," Horner said when asked if he'd prefer to line up second on the grid.

"But here, history has shown us that being on the front row and that run up the hill on the first lap, the tow is is pretty powerful even with DRS closed.

"I'm thinking back to Sebastian [Vettel], and even Max a couple of years ago.

"It's tended to work reasonably well, so let's see.

"Pole position is still a great place to be starting. But P2, I think has equal merit here."

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