Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has commended his driver Max Verstappen over his efforts in qualifying on Saturday. The Dutchman snatched a front row start, and will line up in second place alongside pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton.
Red Bull didn't appear to be as competitive as Mercedes and Ferrari throughout the weekend, but upped its pace in qualifying. Following the session, it was revealed that Verstappen was having some engine problems during qualifying despite his P2 finish.
"It was a fantastic lap, and unbelievable effort," Horner told Autosport. "To drive round the issues he had was truly impressive. It was a shame, I think without it we could have had a shot at the pole there, but to be starting on the front row feels like a pole position anyway.
"I think going into qualifying the engineers thought fifth and sixth was the likely outcome, so I think they've done a good job in getting the chassis tidied up," the Briton added.
Daniel Ricciardo had to settle for sixth place after he too suffered from engine issues. Red Bull fitted Renault's 'Spec C' engine to its car two weeks ago, but it is already giving the energy drink team pain.
"Unfortunately with the mapping he's just not getting the delivery of the power that he's requesting from the pedal, so it's very intermittent," Horner explained. "That's what's been having him over in terms of downshifts and on upshifts. So he's had to drive around that. Daniel's had that issue as well, but it's certainly affected Max more, or he's certainly been more vocal about it."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing