Red Bull confident failure won't impact Verstappen's weekend

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Red Bull confident failure won't impact Verstappen's weekend
Jonathan Noble
By: Jonathan Noble
Oct 26, 2018, 9:27 PM

Red Bull says Max Verstappen's challenge for pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix has not been derailed by a hydraulics problem in second practice.

Verstappen and teammate Daniel Ricciardo were in a class of their own around the Mexico City circuit on Friday, finishing 1-2 in both sessions, with the high altitude helping the team's performance against Ferrari and Mercedes.

But Verstappen's day ended in frustration when his car stopped out on track with an engine issue in second practice, prompting fears that he could be left on the backfoot for the rest of the weekend.

But team boss Christian Horner suspects that the issue was hydraulic related – and if there has been any engine damage then the Dutchman still has a spare Spec-B power unit he can use.

"It's a hydraulic issue of some sort, so we need to get the car back to understand what's caused it," Horner told Sky.

"Then if it is an engine change, he's still got one in his pool, so he should be alright. But we need to get the car back first of all to understand it."

Horner said it was no surprise that Red Bull was fast in Mexico, with engine performance more equalised at high altitude and the team able to exploit its downforce advantage.

"What's happened here, as I said before the event, this high altitude tends to even things out a bit," he said.

"The engines are struggling for air, the brakes, the cooling, everything is struggling for air mass through here.

"We're able to run the car in its optimum state [high downforce] and we've got a power unit that looks competitive relative to the others."

Red Bull is sure, however, that Ferrari and Mercedes will be much closer in qualifying than they were in Friday practice.

Ricciardo said: "The low fuel pace looked good, so I am relatively happy with the car low fuel, high fuel not so competitive so we have some work to do there.

"I am relatively happy, but I don't want to be naive though. I think Ferrari and Mercedes will give us a push tomorrow."

Horner added: "They are for sure going to get their party modes going tomorrow, but the question is how much will it give them at this attitude.

"Last year we missed out on pole by 1/10th. It would be great to go one better, and if Max can do it he will be the youngest pole sitter."

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