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Christian Horner

Horner jokes Verstappen bet highlight after pole

The Red Bull Team Principal made a bet with Helmut Marko that Max Verstappen would not start on the front row, and the stakes were high!

Verstappen Abu Dhabi
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes a setup change overnight enabled Max Verstappen to bounce back and take pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Dutchman did not show his usual dominant pace during the practice sessions, having finished a tenth off Charles Leclerc in FP3.

In qualifying his pace markedly improved, with him stealing pole by 0.139s from Leclerc and a further 0.337s from McLaren's Oscar Piastri.

“We already saw in the first round of Q1 that we were back,” said Horner.

"Friday night we changed some things and the car didn't respond very well to that in FP3. That's why we went back to Friday's set-up. The mechanics deserve a compliment for their work and Max delivered again."

Horner: Still question marks over the race

Horner said there are still question marks over the race, after the usual long runs were disrupted in practice on Friday due to the lengthy stoppages for Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg's crashes.

"We got back into a situation where Max was happy and the car was doing well. The fast lap times followed," said Horner.

"There are some question marks for the race, because we have not been able to finish a long run. Despite this, it's nice that Max starts from pole position on this track for the fourth time in a row."

Horner could be heard over team radio post-session explaining a bet that took place between him and Helmut Marko, after the Red Bull Advisor bet him €500 that Verstappen would not start on the front row.

"This is the best result of the season for me. I managed to steal Helmut's money, which you can compare to getting blood out of a stone," he joked.

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F1 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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