Sergio Perez made a concerning statement about Red Bull’s reliability following Max Verstappen’s failure to qualify for the second round.
The Mexican driver will start from pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after holding off Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc in the final minutes of the session.
Verstappen’s early retirement due to a problem that was thought to be related to the driveshaft, though, made the session less successful for Red Bull.
“It’s a shame,” Perez said. “Max has been strong all weekend so hopefully tomorrow, we can have both cars up there… You never know with these cars and reliability issues can hit you at any time.”
Max Verstappen experienced a driveshaft issue during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. Despite topping the three practice sessions at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, the two-time champion was the favorite for pole position.
Verstappen, however, was pushed out of Q2 due to a mechanical problem, and will now start from 15th. The Red Bull ace had claimed to be experiencing engine trouble after losing acceleration as he approached turn 13, however, onboard audio revealed otherwise.
“Yes, that is what it looks like at the moment,” Horner responded to Sky Sports F1 when asked if the driveshaft had indeed failed the Dutchman.
“A great shame because that one lap he did in Q1 would have still put him fourth on the grid… But nevertheless, we have a quick race car and I am sure he will race quickly.”
Verstappen had complained about downshifting problems on Friday and his RB19 had a new gearbox fitted prior to the final practice.
“There wasn’t a concern,” Horner said. “It was just part of our strategy of introducing parts into the pool.”
Owing to Verstappen’s problem and Red Bull’s superiority, Sergio Perez had the opportunity to make up for lost glory and win a second pole position of his career.
The Mexican also took pole position last year in Jeddah.