F1 2021
Round 3

Red Bull Racing Honda Lockout The Second Row In Portugal

pt Portimao

It will be an all-Red Bull Racing second row as three of the four Honda-powered cars reached Q3 in qualifying at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Red Bull Racing Honda Lockout The Second Row In Portugal

Checo had a spin in Q1 at Turn 4 in a sign of how difficult the track conditions were because of the strong and gusty crosswinds, but all four drivers advanced through the first part of qualifying in impressive fashion despite the challenge of the wind and low-grip conditions.

In Q2, both Red Bull Racing drivers set their first times on the medium tyre to start on that compound, and although they later went out on softs they were able to abort their final attempts once it was clear they would progress to the final top ten shoot-out.


For Scuderia AlphaTauri it was a more tricky session, with Pierre just making it through in 10th place using the soft tyre, to record his sixth consecutive top ten qualifying and Yuki eliminated in 14th place on his first visit to Portimao in any category.

Checo Leaves The Garage During Qualifying
Checo Leaves The Garage During Qualifying

After rounding off practice with the quickest time in FP3, Max headed into the session with his eyes set on pole position but track limits would prove frustrating. His first timed lap in Q3 was good enough for provisional pole position but he saw the lap deleted for running wide at Turn 4, meaning he had to be slightly more conservative with his final attempt to ensure he got a legal lap in.

The final attempt from Max was half a second slower than his first as he ended up third on the grid, with Checo joining his team-mate on the second row with fourth place.

Pierre was another driver to get a lap time deleted as his final lap was invalidated for running wide at Turn 14, but it didn’t cost him a position in the final standings as he will start ninth on the grid.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
Today’s qualifying was run in very difficult conditions for everyone, with gusting wind and low grip levels. Red Bull Racing Honda took both second row places on the grid with Max third and Perez fourth. For Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, Gasly also got into Q3 to line up ninth on the grid, his sixth consecutive top ten qualifying stretching back to last year, which proves how consistent he is. His team-mate Yuki was racing here for the very first time and he missed the cut to Q3 and qualified 14th, but we are sure he will deliver his usual aggressive performance in the race. Track conditions were very different today to Friday, so we will look at this factor carefully in our plans for the race.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
Third is of course not what we wanted but it’s not too bad after I had a Q3 lap time deleted, which would actually have put us fastest even though I lost time with the snap at Turn 4. We struggled with the balance in Q1 and Q2 because of the track surface, and everyone is chasing grip, but we got to a decent level in Q3 so I don’t think we are too far off. It was really one of those sessions where you could end up in P1 or P3 out of the blue.  You could do a lap which was pretty good and then put another set of tyres on, and if you had just a little bit of a different out lap and tyre preparation, with the lack of grip around here it makes a big difference and is hard to predict. I think we are still competitive and it will be different in the race tomorrow. Our long runs have been ok and although it’s going to be hard to follow with the grip levels we will first focus on a clean start and then put the pressure on.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
It wasn’t a great qualifying on my side, it was very messy in terms of finding my rhythm and so I’m not entirely happy with my lap time. I wasn’t very happy with the balance and I just struggled a lot so it’s a shame we weren’t able to qualify higher. This track is all about the tyres and getting them to the right temperature which is very difficult. I tried everything in terms of warm up with my out laps, build laps, push laps but nothing seemed to work. The conditions with the wind made it more tricky and they probably suited the Mercedes better but we still have a good starting position and a great opportunity tomorrow so anything can happen. I think it will be a tight battle around us so I’m looking forward to that. We just need to put the pressure on the Mercedes and hopefully we can fight for a podium.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m very satisfied with my Qualifying performance today, we seem to find this track more difficult than the last few, so to make it through to Q3 again was positive. We knew coming to Portugal that the characteristics of this circuit would be trickier for us and I think it’s been obvious since we arrived that we’ve struggled slightly with the different conditions, particularly the wind. The team have worked hard since FP1 to change the balance of the car but we’re not completely happy with it yet, so we’ll need to work more tonight to try to understand this more. Whilst I’m not completely comfortable in the car yet, I’m happy we made it through to the final Qualifying session, as it seems that our midfield competitors have made some steps forward this weekend, and I think we’re in a position to take some more points tomorrow.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
This is my first time driving here and by the end of FP2 I think I’d adapted well to the circuit, so I felt really prepared ahead of Qualifying this afternoon. For me, the lap was good but the tyre just wasn’t there – I had no grip at all with the Softs and it almost felt like I was driving with the hard tyre until the final sector. It was a tricky Qualifying session today and I’m really disappointed, but I’ll analyse the data tonight with my engineers and see where I can improve. Tomorrow, hopefully my race pace will be better, and I will try my best to make my way up the grid.

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