F1 2021
Round 20

Two Honda Powered Cars Start On The Front Two Rows In Qatar

qa Losail International Circuit

Max will start from second and Pierre fourth after an entertaining first qualifying session in Qatar.

Two Honda Powered Cars Start On The Front Two Rows In Qatar

Under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit, the first part of qualifying was a competitive one as all four cars advanced in the top eight. Max led the way with the second fastest time ahead of Sergio in fifth, Yuki in seventh and Pierre in eighth.

But there were plenty of surprises in Q2, as a number of big names dropped out in another close session. Of the Honda-powered cars, Sergio was the unfortunate driver to be eliminated as he missed out in 11th place by just 0.1s, but he will at least have a free choice of tyres with which  to start the race.

Pierre excelled, setting the second fastest time with Max in fourth, while Yuki earned himself a fourth Q3 appearance in five races with the seventh quickest lap. Max managed to set his best time on the medium compound and so will start on that tyre, with the Scuderia AlphaTauri drivers on softs.

The final part of qualifying came to a dramatic end for Pierre, as he ran slightly wide out of the penultimate corner, damaging his front wing, which folded under the car and caused a front right puncture. The incident prevented the Frenchman from improving but he still will start from a very impressive fourth place, lining up on the second row directly behind Max who managed to split the two Mercedes drivers.

Yuki was a little over 0.2s off his team-mate but in such a close battle that equated to four positions, meaning he will start from eighth on Sunday.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
In today’s first ever F1 qualifying at the Losail circuit, Max secured a front row start, in second place, but unfortunately, his Red Bull Racing team-mate missed the cut out of what was a difficult Q2 and will start 11th.  The Scuderia AlphaTauri cars have performed well since Friday practice and both drivers did a good job this afternoon, in conjunction with the team so that Pierrewas  fourth fastest while Yuki will start from eighth. For tomorrow, we can expect a very close battle between Max and his closest rival in the Drivers’ championship, while the teams are both still fighting for the Constructors’ title and Scuderia AlphaTauri is also fighting its own championship battle for fifth. From practice, we have seen that this track is tough on tyres and that is an additional factor to consider in terms of our PU settings which can play a part in tyre management. It’s going to be an important race for both teams and all four drivers and we will now prepare to give them all the best possible chance of getting  a good result.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
It’s been a bit of an up and down weekend so far, I was happy in quali but just not quick enough. I thought I had quite a decent lap but then heard the gap difference and I was a bit shocked, it's been really difficult to match them. In a way I’m happy to be second but the gap to Lewis is very big. Qualifying has been more of a struggle for us over the past few races so we definitely need to have a look into it. I don’t expect miracles tomorrow but we are on a new track and a lot of things can happen, we never give up. It’s very quick around here so it will be difficult to follow, it also depends on what tyres we will be on and those around us. I’ll try to do the best I can, as always.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m super happy with Qualifying, it’s been pretty amazing and we’re right behind Mercedes and Max again which is great. I was going even faster in the last lap, improving by one and a half tenths, but I went over the kerb at Turn 15 and I lost the front wing, which then blew the front right tyre. At the end of the day, it was still a really strong Qualifying and we’re in a good position for tomorrow. The Alpines are pretty close again, so I think it’ll be another intense battle in the race.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I think today was a good Qualifying and I’m happy that I will be starting from P8 tomorrow. It was unfortunate that I had to sacrifice an additional set of Softs to get through Q1, which meant I didn’t have them for Q3, but I’m still really pleased with how today went. We think it’s going to be difficult to overtake in the race, so the start will be key, but the positive is that we’re all in the same position, as no one has driven here before. We’ll prepare for this as well as we can tonight, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
It was a crazy qualifying for me, I think we have been there all weekend and after FP3 we were really confident with the changes we were making. We had everything in hand to really have a strong qualifying but we didn’t put it together when it mattered. We changed our approach with the tyre prep going into the evening conditions and we were not able to do the laps we wanted to, I hit a lot of traffic and going out in Q2 is the price we paid, we didn’t put it together when it mattered. We are a Team so we are all in it together, it is a shame we didn’t make it but we are looking forward to tomorrow now. I think without that issue the pace was in the car, we have been up there all weekend, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t have been there today and therefore can’t fight tomorrow. It has been a disappointing day but Sunday is what matters and hopefully we are able to recover and minimise the damage. We will try to make overtaking possibly here, I really hope that come race day we can be strong and come through the field to be in the mix for big points.

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