Horner reacts to punishing Qatar conditions for drivers: It’s what they’re trained for

Max Verstappen won the 2023 Qatar GP with Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in 10th

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, leads Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, and the rest of the field at the start

Christian Horner gave short shrift to drivers suffering with illness at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, insisting it’s part of the job to deal with difficult conditions and still perform in Formula 1.

Several drivers suffered dehydration and exhaustion, with Esteban Ocon throwing up for most of the race, Logan Sargeant retiring and Lance Stroll admitting he nearly fainted.

However, Max Verstappen wasn’t fazed as he earned the 49th win of his career the day after clinching his third F1 world championship.

“That’s physically a really tough one for the today, I think there’s a few drivers of dehydrated, on the pitwall it was a tough job as well” Horner said. “I think that’s what they trained for.”

Horner: One of Verstappen’s toughest races

Max Verstappen leads the pack at the 2023 Qatar GP | Clive Rose/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen dominated proceedings in Qatar despite losing some ground to second-placed Oscar Piastri late on and only posting a winning margin of 4.8 seconds.

That was after Piastri had won the sprint race to ever-so-slightly Verstappen‘s championship celebrations, with the Dutchman unable to close down the McLaren in the closing stages.

However, Sergio Perez endured another nightmare weekend, knocked in Q2 before crashing out of the sprint race and just scraping a top-10 finish.

Perez was at least given a reprieve by Lewis Hamilton‘s DNF in the grand prix, meaning he gains a point on his rival for second in the championship after the Mercedes man looked set to close the now-34-point gap.

“It was good to see that both our drivers were in reasonable shape at the end of it, yes they were physically dehydrated, but they were both in pretty sensible shape,” Horner added. “But yeah, as Max said, I think it’s one of the toughest five races for him.”



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