Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021

Horner blames Tsunoda for ruining Verstappen and Perez’s qualifying laps

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner blamed AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda for impeding Max Verstappen in the final phase of qualifying, after Verstappen failed to claim a place on the front row of the grid for the Mexico City Grand Prix.

“We got Tsunoda’d”, Horner told Sky when asked about the team’s surprise defeat in qualifying after their strong showing in final practice.

Verstappen and team mate Sergio Perez caught Tsunoda in turn 11 during their flying laps. Tsunoda pulled off-track to let them through, but Perez skidded off as he caught the AlphaTauri and Verstappen slowed in response.

“Oh for fuck’s sake! What the fuck happened there in front of me?” exclaimed Verstappen. “Unbelievable. Such a dumb idiot.”

Horner said both drivers were on course to improve their lap times when they caught Tsunoda.

“Both drivers were up on their last lap. Max was up two and a half tenths, I think Checo was just under two tenths up and I don’t understand why he [Tsunoda] was just cruising around at that part of the circuit.

“So it’s disappointing because it affected both the drivers, they’re both pretty annoyed, but we’re still second row of the grid and can have a great race from there.”

In a social media post, Tsunoda said there was “Nothing I can do more than that.”

Ultimately, Red Bull failed to live up to the promise they had showed in final practice. The team encountered a DRS problem during the final session and subsequently added strips of tape to the rear wings.

Horner denied the change affected the performance in qualifying. “We saw something in P3 that we just wanted to add a bit of protection into those rear wings,” he said. “So it was more precautionary than anything else. Nothing that would affect the performance.”

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Horner blames Tsunoda for ruining Verstappen and Perez’s qualifying laps”

  1. “We got Tsunoda’d”

    Tsunoda getting a deserved and fair payback for helping Red Bull some races ago.

    1. Tsunoda giveth, and Tsunoda giveth away.

  2. Was I watching the same TV? Perez did a Tsunoda and fell off the track.

    1. Obviously you weren’t watching it very well then… Tsunoda went off and all Perez could see was his dust cloud. He had no choice but to abort the lap really, as he couldn’t have known where the car might be.

      1. Eh. The dust cloud was behind the corner. Not in front. Perez got frit and went off.

        Tsunoda should not have been out there anyway with his penalty and the lead cars trying to make up ground and not needing any distractions or a potential yellow from a spin. If the idea was to tow Perez, we’ll, it wasn’t even working.

        1. It was a team mistake from both AT and red bull. Karenhorner at it again.

  3. Sounds like this was planned by Red Bull and Alpha Tauri but it went horribly wrong at the worst time. That’s the risk when running behind other drivers in a qualifying session. At this point, I blame the team because history has shown that it is your responsibility to ensure that the drivers get clean laps in qualifying. If you decide to do your lap behind everyone else, then you have to accept that if a yellow flag occurs or a red flag, you cannot complete your lap. Tsunoda is not at fault here. It still surprises me at times why teams choose to send out drivers too late for qualifying runs because you risk a lot in not getting a time. We have seen this a lot in the past, a lot of times, Monaco 2014, Monaco 2021, Austria 2020, Baku 2021, and we can even add Abu Dhabi 2019, Hungary 2021 and Tuscan 2020. Go out last in qualifying sessions at your own risk.

    1. That’s my feeling too @krichelle, Red Bull seemed to have the pace, but then the rear wing thing, and temperature, and them making things to complicated because they wanted that 1-2 front row lockout, somehow made it all too complicated and somehow they ended up losing out.

      Well, they still have great pace, though passing will be hard, I am guessing at an interesting strategic battle (well, unless slipstream start changes things a lot which is of course possible here!)

  4. Just a thought. Tsunoda got off the track to let them pass. But it backfired because Perez got distracted and got off the track. And then Verstappen had to lift. And Redbull blames Tsunoda and ignores their own mistakes: Perez should have lifted as well instead of blocking and almost crashing into Tsunoda, which in turn it could have avoided Verstappen’s lift. My point is, the whole thing was unfortunate, and there were several mistakes because blocking or get distracted are errors too. And Redbull decides to blame to the most vulnerable, weakest and with the least support guy. That is pretty unsportsmanlike and unfair.

    1. The problem was where Tsunoda left the track and how he turned rigth to follow the signals. Pérez probably thought he would try to rejoin the track and they would have a serious crash. That’s what I thought when I saw the onboard from Pérez and that’s what most people with some experience driving would have thought too.

    2. It looked like Tsunoda was rejoining the track with a dust cloud behind him. Perez was not distracted. He was trying to avoid what seemed like a high speed collision. He went behind Yuki because it was the only option if Yuki was rejoining the track.

      1. Perez reaction was not great. If he was trying to avoid tsunoda he almost hit him in what would have been a hell of a crash.

        1. @dmw Where did you want Perez to go considering he couldnt go in front of Tsunoda because it looked like he was moving towards the racing line? You cant make 90 degree turns to avoid someone at those speeds. I am honestly curious what you think he should have done if it seemed to him that Yuki was moving right towards the racing line with dust/smoke behind him.

          1. Yuki was well away from the track limits and driving slow. The dust cloud was leading away from the track, not even on the racing surface. Perez got distracted and should have stuck on the racing line.

  5. Without knowing or pretending to know the exact details of what Tsunoda did or was told to do, and what it cost the Red Bulls… but this is pathetic. This is exactly the Machiavellian stuff he rightly accuses Wolff of doing. Grow up.

    1. Slagging a sister team’s rookie driver for an honest mistake is pretty sad.

  6. It seemed to me the RBs were a bit behind the Mercs anyway, blaming Tsunoda is just silly I think.

    1. They were, Max might have gotten 2nd though, but not pole

  7. Mistakes Were Made (by that guy over there).

    RBR just lost the track and the set up as it got hotter. But in true RBR fashion they find someone to blame.

    1. Horner would have been better off criticizing Max for his sloppy first run.

  8. The way I see it Yuki is lucky Perez did not have a bad crash. Yuki cannot be trusted while the Bulls are on a flying lap unfortunately.

    1. He can’t be trusted for listening to team orders? Give me a break

    2. You are seeing it wrong, Pat.

  9. To be fair, no one improved on their second run so if the Red bulls set better first laps, there wouldn’t be a problem. Pretty harsh to blame Yuki. Mistakes happen. It’s not like he rejoined the track right in front of Sergio.

  10. And rightly so.

  11. Oh boy…. Hopefully Tsunoda won’t get Alguesuari’d…
    For an unknown reason his inlap procedure was extremely slow and even after this situation with the Red Bull’s, he had to cut the stadium section to avoid holding Hamilton aa well.
    In these type of cases, the team plays a big role in informating the driver as well,so blaming Tsunoda is a bit unjustified

  12. ROFLMBO!!
    The KarenHorner comment will stick for ever! Top Sony!!!!
    Standard RBR. Always someone else’s fault.

  13. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    7th November 2021, 14:47

    This is a clear case where messing with a bull, gets you… the horns. Even if it is another bull.

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