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Christian Horner

Horner: Unpredictable grid will make for 'very interesting race'

Christian Horner expects a "very interesting race" at the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday, thanks to a mixed-up grid.

Verstapen rain Russia
To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckons the mixed-up starting grid for the Russian Grand Prix will lead to a "very interesting race", as Max Verstappen looks to work his way up from the back of the order.

Mercedes dominated Friday practice and the first two phases of qualifying at the Sochi Autodrom, but Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas ended up only fourth and seventh respectively in the decisive Q3 phase, amid drama during the switch from Intermediate tyres to slicks.

While the Mercedes drivers are out of position – McLaren's Lando Norris, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Williams' George Russell leading the way in qualifying – there will also be two competitive cars starting at the back.

Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have both taken on new power units this weekend, meaning they will be fighting their way through the field on Sunday, and Horner expects an entertaining race to unfold.

"The grid isn't one anyone would have predicted coming into this weekend," he commented.

"With dry weather forecast for tomorrow on a track where you can overtake, we could see even more overtaking and a very interesting race."

Regarding the decision not to complete a timed lap with Verstappen in qualifying, Horner said: "Obviously we knew Max was going to be starting from the back of the grid and with today's tricky qualifying conditions, the reward wasn't worth the risk.

"It was just about making sure everything was ready for him tomorrow."

Sergio Perez will be the lead Red Bull at the start of the race, though he had to settle for ninth on the grid after a mistake preparing his slick tyres in Q3.

"Checo will be disappointed to be starting from ninth position," added Horner.

"A small mistake on his warm-up lap on the slicks in Q3 meant he struggled to generate heat in the tyres and unfortunately missed out on being further up the field."

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Follow Rudy van Buren as he takes you on a flying lap around the Sochi Autodrom in Russia.

F1 2021 Russian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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